Featured Fig: Sophie Robinson

Featured Fig is an ongoing column showcasing interviews with Figues authors. Sophie Robinson is author of apublished as part of the TrenchArt: Tracer series.

1. Tell us a little bit about your aesthetic inclinations?

My training is in the experimental tradition, and that’s where my heart still lies: finding ways to make language new. I’m also very into visual/linguistic crossovers and enjoy experimenting with incorporating photography and video into my work. More recently I’ve been drawn to revisions of traditional forms and features of poetry, specifically innovating traditional poetic form and playing about with the lyric ‘I’, notions of sincerity, emotion and affect.

2. Where did you come from and are you happy that you’re no longer there?

I sprung from a large and complex web of family not far from London. They taught me to read poetry, dance around the kitchen drunk and defy expectation, but I wouldn’t go back.

3. What does your work demand? What does it offer?

I think it demands attention, as do I. It offers newness, at times, I hope. Occasionally a kind joke.

4. Where do you do what you do?

Usually I do it at the kitchen table at 2am, or in a notebook on the bus. Recently, however, I’ve been treated to my own studio at the V&A Museum in London, which is a crazy space that lets me make work any time of the day I like. I teach, too, and get an awful lot from that – I find it really energising.

5. If push came to shove…

I’d shove it in.

6. Please tell us about beauty, belief or bawdry. You may begin.

Bawdry! I adore the use of meat imagery in love poems, and enjoy thinking of obscure and disgusting metaphors for the new government and the state of play here in the UK.

from Robinson’s “the institute of our love in disrepair,”
Both Sides and The Center, August 2011


7. As Gertrude Stein says “let us why why.” Please proceed.

I love repetition for life and am a bit addicted to using and reading it, ‘why why’ being so different and much more melodramatic than ‘why’. I also love the horror and melodrama of Acker’s work, whole pages of ‘no’ repeated.

8. What does art do to you?

It energises me, gives me hope for the future and sometimes turns me on.

9. Who (or what) do you admire?

Frank O’Hara. Patti Smith. Punctual people.

10. What is a good question? What questions do you ask?

“How do you love?”

11.What do you find deeply satisfying?

Cigarettes. An almost-finished poem. Bellyhurt laughing. Re-opening a wound.

12. What are your favorite kinds of figs?

The feeling of not giving a fig, which I wish I could get more of.

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