Monday, July 20, 2009

Feature: Stephan Anstey Day 2

an aria to a porcupine's ass

I kissed a porcupine's ass
as each spine
pierced my lip
I sang an aria

praising God
and all creation

for the pain

digital art & poetry © Stephan Anstey

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Interview Question:

Who are your favorite poets?


Amongst my friends, Jim Benz is one of my absolute favorites. Leanne Hanson, Julie Cook, Ruth Eliot, David Hirt are all fantastic and not recognized as they should be. Renata McCormish is another wonderful poet. Over the years I've really enjoyed reading Pablo Neruda, Basho, Buson & Issa, e.e. cummings, Anne Sexton, W.H. Auden, Lewis Carrol, Martial & John Donne.

I was absolutely floored by Major Jackson, W.D. Snodgrass, Martin Espada and Robert Pinsky. Hearing them perform, reading their books, and listening to them talk about their own poetic journey and process was instrumental in my development.

In terms of poets who have influenced me that maybe no one would know, I'd have to say some local (and internet community) artists like Ed Marshall, Paul Marion, Dave Robinson, Lori Trierweiller, Matt Miller , Harris Gardner, Anthony Febo, Patrick Pierce, and Patrick Shaugnessy have had a huge influence on my work.

Patrick Pierce, (and his wonderful wife the Gourmet Gal), has spent a lot of time really pushing me to think and rethink my entire concept of art and the world around me. His sculptures and poetry are out of this world, and his mind is devestatingly sharp.

Febo's passion, Ed's kindness, and Patrick's courage are a constant source of inspiration to me as I try to break into the local scene a bit. Without them, I go no where and get no where. I can't give them enough credit.

I realize a lot of people look for the 'big names' the 'famous' poets - but truly and honestly, the most important and immediate influences on me and my work are these local artists who take the time to really engage me in a dialog.

I would be really remiss if I didn't single out Leanne Hanson here. She is, without any doubt, the most important single poet I know. I don't just mean for me either - she is certainly that - but the sheer number of poets she pushes, bullies, and saves from suck is mind boggling. Her standards are world class, her criticism more valuable than gold, her friendship more generous and loyal than anyone could possible deserve and if there is a living saint of poetry I am convinced it is that beloved hysterically funny, curmudgeonly Aussie Goddess. Anyone that gives a crap about poetry that doesn't own her book is missing out on something special. Buy it here.


  1. Stephan I love Jim's work too and hope he will send me some stuff soon. Jim, I know you're reading this! hehe

    I also recognize some of these names from and from the former poetrydmv... all great poets. You have great taste!

  2. Ha ha! That's one way of looking at it...!

  3. (your poem, and the pain, I mean!)

  4. :) Porcupines are the unrealized, unsuspecting and unheralded truth of all creation.

  5. The look on that porcupine's face: it's got the right sardonic attitude.

  6. The porcupine ode has really opened my eyes (can I get a copy of the 'artwork'?:) Wonderful interview, Stephan!

  7. Dude, can I get your aurtograph?
    Great poem my friend. Congrats on the feature....

  8. what a great poem.. the artwork adds so much to this..


  10. copy and past the link the armidillo in my poem is of course the porcupine ( it was zen reference)

  11. That's the secret of wisdom, isn't it -- the grace to embrace pain.

    Of course, if we are really wise, kissing a porcupine might not be a first consideration!

    I like your poems very much.