Anthony Caleshu’s “Of Whales” is named a Daily Telegraph Book of the Year
Anthony Caleshu’s Of Whales is named as a Daily Telegraph Book of the Year.
[T]he mad Melvillean poetry of Anthony Caleshu’s collection, Of Whales (Salt), an imaginative update of the equally subversive Moby-Dick for the 21st century.
A short interview with Anthony Caleshu, author of Of Whales: in Print, in Paint, in Sea, in Stars, in Coin, in House, in Margins
Q: Why Whales?
AC : Two things came together at just the right time. I was re-reading Moby-Dick and my wife had our first son. He didn’t sleep. And I didn’t sleep. And I wondered how Moby-Dick might help him to sleep, and how our discussions of Moby-Dick might go. And how, since he wouldn’t know or care much about Moby-Dick, how I might use Moby-Dick as a spring-board to dive beyond the Melville novel and into a new world, full of whales and parental concern and wonderment.
Q: Father-child poems aren’t as common as mother-child poems, are they?
AC: I guess not. There are some great ones of course, but the ‘poetics of motherhood’ as Stephen Burt just wrote about it in a Boston Review essay, has a more substantial tradition. I never expected to, or set out to, write a book of poems from father to son … poems, for me, are only ever so personal, the rest of the time I’m trying to get away from myself and situation as subject, so the voice and the situation are both pretty hyperreal in their postures.
Q: You just won the Boston Review poetry contest for 2010, for a suite of poems presumably from your next book?
AC: They’re called ‘The Victor Poems’, and are from a book-length sequence in process. It all takes place in the Arctic. No whales, though, nor sons … just a group of guys trying to track down a long lost friend who has become as mythic as God.