National Poetry Month Spotlight: Jason Tandon

From this hillside heaped with melon leaves
we watch a golden foil settle over the city,
the outskirt factories shuttling smoke out to sea.
Today after work, after many bad days at work,
I punched the banister into a gap-toothed smile.
On the news we heard of the innocent bystander
caught in a hail of bullets. We imagined
downy feathers in a pendulum descent.
You pull the wine from the rapid of a cold brook.
Exhausted stars recoil into night.
Our mouths, open and soundless,
taste peach on our tongues, a hint of clove.
Q: Where is your favorite place to write?

A: I like a small room with a good sized desk and a window, someplace where I can sit, type, and stare.
Q: Do you remember the first poem you read that really blew your mind?
A: Three poems actually, all read in college. “Blackberrying” by Sylvia Plath, which I still hold up to be an ideal lyric poem. “For the Union Dead” by Robert Lowell for its linguistic dexterity, his torrents of jagged sound–Lowell was the first poet that used language in a way that I had never read or heard. For a long time I wanted to write like Lowell, and still return to him when I feel like my lines have run stagnant. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” which still remains one of my favorite poems. I loved how it sprawls, yet how tightly constructed it is; I loved the lines “I should have been pair of ragged claws/ Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.” Also since the age of eighteen I have often felt like an anxious, balding old man.
Q: What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you in the last 12 months?
A: Interesting isn’t the right word, but the most incredible life event was certainly the birth of our son. He’s such a happy, happy kid, an absolute joy to come home to everyday. I’ll let you know what happens when he turns two.
Jason Tandon is the author of three collections of poetry, Wee Hour Martyrdom (sunnyoutside, 2008), Give over the Heckler and Everyone Gets Hurt (Black Lawrence Press, 2009), winner of the St. Lawrence Book Award, and Quality of Life, forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press.