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Interview with Poet, Matt Jones

Good afternoon I am Jan Cleveland!

Its December 16th 2014 and we are in the studio at Carleton University this afternoon my guest is left and it may be Matt Jones who has just recently achieved to major accomplishment in life that would like to talk about, welcome to the stadium at thanks for coming in my partner Dan, first thing that you have recently accomplished is graduating with a master’s degree in English at Carleton, well done! as always them feels really good when that once finished and the other thing but his equally as important is recently you have published a brand new chapbook of poetry, white flowers in land mines interesting title we will get to that in a minute so congratulations to both those things what I find fascinating about all of this is you decided to come can do a master’s after 10 years military service you are still with the armed forces see continued to hunt you brought this book of poetry you decide to do a master’s degree.

Now, I think the average person would understand okay got this military service you want to go back to school upgrade to something I am not thinking English I could understand if it was mechanical engineering or something maybe had to do with the things that you already do, as a ship driver I am not even gonna go there because I had no idea what you do why English?. “Why English, well I suppose even when I am was deployed or when I was sailing on the ship’s, I was always standing in language to some extent like ever be a guy who was struggling with with English on the ship I would I would help them out say it was a second language or something like that in when I was deployed people who were doing distance learning packages will come up and commuter better essays for them and stuff like that so I have always had an inclination towards it with him but then to the day I just wanted to do something different, I mean, I was has applied for an entire year in Afghanistan and reaches a certain point for the eastern part for me where uhm I just relies on you to have a change in my life I wanted to do something radically different I wanted to use my academic and creative side my brain more”. Okay, okay, that totally makes sense now that you say it and that is not where I would have gone initially, but I have also read your collection Parnell’s and there clearly influenced by your service to the military’s specifically your deployment to Afghanistan.

What is it about these poems that you needed to say what why white as opposed to other forms are expansion for example?. All when I first came home I felt like I needed, I need just needed to write and was a as like the my experiences had reach a point where the starting to kinda froth over the container and I had this excessive words and language to articulate.

I started sharing it and I am a writer circle and I gave me a bit of a catharsis to do it, I am and then after a while all I started realizing because it or portion because it is so evocative it can actually get people thinking about things in any way it can be very challenging”. And much of it is very visceral I found some a bit incredibly difficult to read but it was also really impressed by the ways in which you introduce healer at times, sometimes when we think aboard poetry it tends to be oh my god it is all up to be happy and and bring us all down and I me more is not a fun thing that your subject matter is difficult no question.

But you seem to put achieved this really fine balance now the humor is quite dark but they are is a balance there where there is not just a single time going through. I found. It useful?, I found when I started doing my readings a in public 10 kitchen large group sixty or seventy people but I just read or Palmer for more Palmer became like a series of kicks in the belly, Right,! as I started, try not to be your audience, started the light poems and the funny ones my job as a force for good for example just as, it is very funny! “thank you” I will as a means to cut about said and because, I do not think humor the writing is solely designed to to be shocking or two more to push people I also think it is designed to to muse and a tad late a minute can do can do everything that we wanted to do so, yeah! the balance has helped me it is kinda help to make an easier pill to swallow I think that is one of the reasons that the chapel action works because it does not have strive for different levels. Okay, that brings me to a question I was thinking about so your writings you writing for yourself but are you also writing for a particular audience.

I think it would be difficult to talk, homogeneously about who who specifically I am running for I mean there are some poems in here are some some segments that are for example which are obviously geared up my mom because I am talking a little bit about her experiences in dealing with my deployment stuff like that, um but I could I say that I wrote for my mom know obviously something is much too shocking and I mean why was she scandalized by a lot but, I can understand why, i guess i I am running for someone who is actually i use to do this test when I wrote a new poem, I would because we met in a bar the writer’s circle and I would take the palm to the bartender afterwards and I would ask her do you understand what I am trying to say here should read the poem and sometimes, great idea, sometimes it is says I understand exactly what you are trying to do here time with S&S, an issue ever came back with no its to obscures two leaders they do not get it and I would know that something to work on sirup, I wrote the the book to be accessible to people, going to, a and I want everyone to be able to get something it is more about creating an emotional experience in his book reading intellectual

1. Well I actually think it does both and I am quite fond love your writing I will say that read aloud and, and more poetry can be extremely difficult I’ve read a lot of it it can also be very evocative you can teach us something I do not see why we have to separado the yet the didactic aspect from the simply its its poetry to be enjoyed and I think you do that really well, and you have mentioned your mother and their is a poem in here that specifically talks about your mother’s, reaction to finding out you are going to be deployed and specifically to Afghanistan. I wonder if, you would maybe set it up for us and it is it is not very long perhaps you with 19.

I do not mind at all someplace I would suggest its prose poetry this particular one yes well basically what I am gonna be doing in this chapter to some trying to link the different pop palms together with trucks ameridose and contextualize and create a larger framework and this was the. The part that contextualize the war poems and says okay and get ready for some more pomp there is no right way to tell your mom deploying to war zone we sat around the table heard little kitchen dreamcatcher dangling from the central light.

She wanted to know all my justifications I form them up like soldiers as she shook her head from side to side and the kitchens dim light sheik a picture every Sun however went to war making the same impossible promises a safe return. As for me I spent the next year watching the war in Afghanistan play after a drone feeds. When the Rockets burst on the base we cracks jokes from under our desks. Other times we hunted Taliban down the winding, angeline, roads drones, bombers, artillery so many lives snuffed and those dishes I lost count. I remember man injured from a drone strike. He kept reaching for his arm I remember a woman collecting chunks of our son in a basket, after eight months I could not dream without seen the dead faces palette from blood loss doll’s eyes.

That is incredibly powerful you know they must be very proud to be shown also must be very happy that you came back home. She certainly in saint, and I think we will probably running out of time. I am really want to thank you for coming and I wish we had half an hour to keep talking, because I think this very important words in here and our conversations about war and what happens to that that’s when we come back to do an example if someone who has, taking those experiences is using many creative way continues to work with military and I wish you all the best. Thanks for coming in and thank you all for joining us this afternoon i join us again next week, he never know what exciting guess we might bring in.