For each day of National Poetry Month one of our fellows will explore the breadth of poetry in three ways: through a question from another fellow, through a poem and through a writing prompt, #writetoday.
Bushra Rehman asks, Soham, I loved your series which took place in a motel and concerned the lives of a family of characters. Could you speak to the ways in which location and the idea of family influence your work?
Soham Patel answers, The first drafts of the writing in Riva: A Chapter came from a fiction workshop with Carol Guess at Western Washington University. We were reading “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things” and something about the way the setting of the truck stops are written about in that book reminded me of one of my first jobs, which was cleaning rooms in my mom and dad’s motel—and so the character of Riva was born from there. Ongoing: location and family—they both influence the work because they are holding in my body. I’m keen on how both at once have a certain permanence and also are always changing. Sometimes the thought of a particular location place will remind me to breathe in another way and so the writing’s rhythm changes. Sometimes the idea of family has me remember particularities of my body parts (my nose looks like my dad’s looks like my nephew’s) and that translates into the work by way of association, image, or idea.
portrait in sound:
Blood-rushed, ears call in
framed fragment clips nightly
(purple lobe, remembered
piercing popped discord
mesh to silence). To hear
It sounds like something breaking
in unison with the cat’s
meow in the background:
braided luck and deliberation.
(To hear listeners shore up
and stop will mean no more
air in the bladder of the fish.)
She said the sensation was some-
thing like a throb in her heart.
Soham Patel’s other chapbook is ‘and nevermind the storm’ (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs).