An in-depth interview with author Benjamin Landry, discussing his newly release poetry collection, Mercies in the American Desert.
They are as needy and affectionate to her as if they were her actual students or jungle creatures
All summer and into the fall, my father tried to sell his bottles of edible algae at the farmer's market like some kind of gourmet treat. Dad thought he still had it, the salesman's magic that had once made him rich selling tropical fish...
It starts when Jinete Camacho decides to get his beloved Paso Fino Mamey stuffed after she's totally wrecked by an '85 Suzuki Swift near KM 12, just outside of Yauco. A freak accident next to a stand selling American-style donuts that leaves the road closed, but not un-taken, since traffic never stops for anyone on the island, not even a flipped hatchback and a half-dismantled horse.
“Stop,” I kept saying, and snapping my phone off. Would they just shut up already? Who wanted to hear the world’s millions of complaints? The world was mad, as in disappointed, humiliated, hurt, lost, and everyone had their personal solutions to this, most of which were inadvisable. They were human, most solutions were inadvisable.
I wouldn’t say I read the same story over and over, but I would say that I see interest in certain topics or tropes. Sometimes I see the same imagery being used. I think writers are drawn to types of stories, like the failing marriage story or the parent dying story, because there’s naturally-ingrained tension there. For a bit I was seeing a lot of what I labeled the “suburban story” in which characters wander around suburban landscapes filled with ennui which I think spoke to this certain placelessness and discomfort with contemporary life in those landscapes.