Checking In: With Lori Anderson Moseman

Lori Anderson Moseman is an American poet who appeared in Cocoa Cabin in 2014 and her poem was also in our murcine, hurcine, doppelgängers, mars (2013). (How is that almost a decade?) I saw that Okay? from her recently came out with above/ground. Looks from her website that like she’s been super-busy.

PP: What have you read lately that lit you up? Add a why or how for the shoutout.

LAM: Recently, I have poured over these four courageous books.

  • Don Mee Choi’s DMZ Colony (Wave Books, 2020) is daring not only for its content but for its complex integration of art/artifacts—some historical, some constructed.
  • Sarah Mangold’s Her Wilderness Will Be Her Manners drives me to the page: her “wreading” experiments results in stunningly innovative forms.
  • Dazzling sonic play in Brandi Katherine Herrera’s Mother Is A Body (Fonograf Editions, 2021) immerses me in word paintings; each section teaches something new about serial work.
  • Jane Ann Fuller’s unflinching refusal to fly away from trauma in Half-Life (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2021) harrows me to the bone.

I like reading all these books at once. Today, I begin with “Sky Translation” in DMZ Colony. Chant the “…return … return…return …” refrain as I watch typographical sparrows flock-n-migration across multiple pages. Then, I open Half-Life to hover mid-page “… We wait/ by the window and wait for the first / birds of June to unfasten your wings.” I reread her first line: “When you chose to die, you chose.” Who choses death in the DMZ Colony? I return to that book to listen to Orphan Kim Seong-rye’s: “I saw countless charred bodies. I saw rows and rows of corpses.” I flee. To feel desire again, to move potential, I read the sequence of erasures entitled “Baby” that conclude Mother Is A Body. Flowing in an out of the fullness of these books, I return to Half-Life for “Where solace is cast./ Where you wait at dusk/” in the poem “Where Nothing You Do Needs To Be Explained.” I meditate on it all via the open field in Her Manners Will Be Her Manner: “gesture/ of remembrance/ perishing the keeper/ footless birds/ of paradise.”

What I am trying to say is that I cannot put any of these books down. It as if they were made to weave into each other.

PP: What’s life’s focus these days, literary or otherwise?

LAM: Despite the despots destroying democracy, I am desperately trying to stay focused on water and elders. 

Water. A flood survivor who recently moved to the land of megadrought, I make daily pilgrimages to water to offer gratitude. Most days I go with my partner and dogs to Utah Lake, a body of water currently threatened by a misguided development scheme purporting to “restore” the lake by building islands to house more houses. More troubling than that is the aridification of the Great Salt Lake: if we don’t get more water in the lake soon, arsenic dust storms will render the whole Wasatch Range uninhabitable (maybe within 10 years). Luckily the dire situation is changing the political will of state legislators. Water policy in the intermountain west is poised transform. Hopefully for the best.

PP: I knew water waste is rampant and throwing the whole weather system out of whack, draining aquifers. But I hadn’t heard of this scheme for Utah Lake. Half a million people to move into suburbs? Or about the challenges the lake has faced.

LAM: Elders. From 2006 to 2018, my partner and I ushered our parents through their last days. Now, I am helping friends with their parents’ end-of-life journey as well as assisting my aunts and uncles. There is so much about the body’s limits, about honing passions, about letting go. Most recently in Montana with my aunt, I confronted lineage of ingenuity-born-of-scarcity. What am I doing to preserve such pragmatism, such stamina. I feel like I am in training to become an elder.

PP: Wow, that is important, necessary work for the good of all. In the light of that, poetry seems a crass thing, but can contain what is meaningful. What is underway or forthcoming? Anything you can tell?

LAM: I have a chapbook coming out from above/ground press in early fall. Too Many Words To Light is the first half of a book-length manuscript; the second half—Okay?—was recently released by above/ground. Written before/during/after my mother’s death. these examine relationships via literacy and colony while trying embracing companionship with non-human beings.

The book Quietly Between should be out at the end of summer. This four-way collaboration (me, Brad Vogler, Megan Kaminski, Sarah Green) explores place/time via photographs and poems. We will first send out postcards that direct readers/viewers to an online portal, The Viewing Space, designed by Brad Vogler of Delete Press. My contribution is “(t)here: now soon new” which juxtaposes Utah landscapes—remnants of an ancient lake with that of an ancient desert. My accompanying poems are not so much “about” the images as my inner landscape on the days the snapshots were taken.

PP: Well, that sounds cool. What work can people read?

LAM: Some Poems Online at Talon Review: “Jarring Bits” [pdf] collaboration with printmaker Sheila Goloborotko (scroll to last piece) and at “Carrying a Canoe to Mt. Koya”, The Volta: Evening Will Come: Moseman, and Opon: “ashes ashes, we”

PP: Any list of publications so I don’t miss any of your titles?)


2022 okay?          (above/ground press)

2021 Darn         (Delete Press)

2019 Y       (Operating System)

2018 Mar       (Lute & Cleat, artists/poets collaboration)

2017 light each pause    (Spuyten Duyvil)

2016 Flash Mob       (Spuyten Duyvil)

2015 Full Quiver       (Propolis Press, collab with Karen Pava Randall)

2014 Host       (Nous Zõt Press)

2012 All Steel       (Flim Forum Press)

2012 Creation       (Goloborotko Studios, artists/poets collaboration)

2012 Double Vigil       (Lute & Cleat, collab with Belle Gironda)

2010 Lintel | Gunwale    (Lute & Cleat)

2009 Temporary Bunk.   (Swank Books)

2003 Persona       (Swank Books)

1992 Cultivating Excess  (The Eighth Mountain Press)

1991 Walking The Dead  (Heaven Bone Press)

PP: Any author site, social media urls or things you’d like to plug?

LAM: My author site provides more info on books. Click on Archive for other projects.