The Lightning Room With Kimberly Bruss


Welcome to the Lightning Room, where DeWitt Brinson & Simon Jacobs take turns asking PANK authors extremely difficult questions about their work.

February interviews by DeWitt Brinson.


Lovely heron hue, Kimberly Bruss’ two poems in our May issue. Now watch. She is reborn! A rum drunk man right before your eyes!

1) I think, natural and familial poems are the most ancient because they’re about all that actually exists, because natural is love and family extends it. How do you feel?

I am never consciously trying to write into a tradition; family and nature are what I love and what I know. They are complicated and beautiful things and, at the end of it all, I’m searching for beauty. Though I do believe that nature must be the original source of pleasure and inspiration. Most people, when asked their favorite place, choose a natural scene, not a busy intersection or the top of a skyscraper. I think nature appeals to us because it reminds of what we can not create.

2) How beautiful is the summertime cowboy on a scale of turkey buzzard to phoenix?

 Blue heron.

3) Which of the two poems was more difficult and why?

They were both difficult in their own ways, though I would say the sequencing of “Lake Country” took more finesse than “The Neighbors,” partially because “Lake Country” is less based in narrative and more in scene.

4) Open a nearby book, turn to a random page, point at a random line, describe the line as if it were an object in a dark room.

Sharp, but sweet as warm, drawn rum.

 5) If you could be reborn as anything, what?

 A man.

6) Talk about your process. Talk about what you like and dislike about it. Talk about what’s not worked and how this is the way it came to be.

“Process” is such a slippery, indefinite word, because I think it represents something slightly different to each of us. Frankly, I hate talking about my “process” because I never know how to answer the question. I never write during sunlit hours. I never write without cigarettes. I revise immediately, within minutes of the first draft. My cat, Linus, is usually on my lap. I need to be by a window. Forcing myself to write on a schedule has never worked for me. Sometimes I go days without writing anything, other times I’m glued to the page. Discussing process is, I think, irrelevant, though, because it is an imperative part of being a writer to discover your own process, not derive it from comparison. It’s about comfort and flexibility and getting the work done however you damn well can.