Tag Archives: Poets & Writers

A Virtual Interview with Kimberly Lambright

Poet Kimberly Lambright will be the featured reader on Thursday, January 12, 2017 7:15 – 9:00 p.m. at BookWoman (5501 N. Lamar #A-105, Austin, TX).


Kimberly Lambright’s debut poetry collection, Ultra-Cabin, won the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award, and was published October 2016. She is a MacDowell fellow, and her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Wicked Alice, The Burnside Review, Bone Bouquet, Columbia Poetry Review, ZYZZYVA, Sink Review, and The Boiler. She holds an MA in humanities from NYU and an MFA in creative writing from Eastern Washington University. She lives in Austin and is at work on her second book: Doom Glove.

The Interview

CH: Your book, Ultra-Cabin, begins with a quote from Gertrude Stein: “All this
and not ordinary, not unordered in not resembling. The difference is
spreading.” How has Stein’s work influenced your own? Why this quote to
open Ultra-Cabin?

KL: Stein is this powerhouse figure of the avant garde—the eccentric, mannered
texture of her work reads to me as personal revolt against hierarchy and
commodification. The epigraph that opens Ultra-Cabin is in her typical
style—she’s working with language’s fabric, its orbit, instead of its
meaning. Conceptually that’s the apex of cool to me these days, so the nod
seemed a natural opener for Ultra, which is concerned with similar themes
of deconstruction, tension, linguistic corruption, etc.

CH: There are so many elements in the poems of Ultra-Cabin that make them
striking: the playfulness of their soundscapes, their deft context
switches, the fragmentation inside so many of them that pushes as if a
motive force. Would you talk a little about your process of composition?

KL: Thanks for saying that! My composition process really centers on a twisty
sense of nuance/vocab. I’m also very interested in the concept of the
unusual, confession, atmosphere/flavor, and the materiality of the
signifier, so those are forces at play when I’m writing.

In Ultra-Cabin I think there are a few different projects going on, since
the work emerged during a span of my more formative years. The more recent
project seems to be about lexical complexity and sonorous integration, but
I can also see a more narrative impulse to get down aspects of grungy,
uneven situations, and low-fi loneliness.

CH: How long did it take you to find a publisher for Ultra-Cabin? How did you
decide to send the manuscript to the 42 Miles Press contest?

KL: I sent Ultra-Cabin to about 15 first-book contests over a period of about 2
years; the book was a finalist/semifinalist for a few contests, so that was
encouraging. 42 Miles is a small shop out of Indiana University—they
started in 2010 and put out one book a year, the poetry contest winner. I
found them via the Poets & Writers’ website. I was floored when I won and
feel really lucky to belong to the 42 Miles line—Betsy Andrews’ eerie and
beautiful The Bottom won the contest in 2013, for example, so I feel in
very good company.

CH: What are you working on now? Can you tell us a bit about Doom Glove?

KL: Doom Glove is the working title of my second collection. I’d say the poems
are spacey and sensate, less linear than ever but I think experientially
coherent via a styled immediacy. There’s a line I like by poet Olena
Kalytiak Davis: “You should bury more than the dead”—I think that theme
runs through Doom Glove, the chance to close the door on what no longer
serves. Regarding the collection’s glaze or mood, I’m leaning into a
feeling of gliding on a neon moonbeam: flowerrock, icelake, pineapple balm,
fairytale mouth, gap in the gape, windy vacuum of grass, etc.

CH: Who are some of your favorite poets? What’s the most recent book of poetry
you’ve read?

KL: I recently read and loved Vanessa Jimenez Gabb’s important Images for
Radical Politics, hugely voiced and subliminally written around sleeper
themes like daily financial reality and civic slough. I’m probably most
affected these last few years by Anne Boyer’s Garments Against Women, which
registers with political hyper-intelligence the ongoing fall-out of living
and all that dark light. And also Sara Deniz Akant’s Babette blew me
away—it’s truly weird, it reads like a shadow hymn, a chant of air overfull
with ghost/gist.