Corey S. Pressman

Pine Row Issue No. 1 Spring 2020 - Featured Poet

Washington Square Park, Right Before the Rain

Sunlight gauzed into submarine heat,

pressing on every curved surface,

into sloping knee bends

and soft cylinder thighs

and all ample armpits cleaved

above simple wrist arithmetic

counting the ways a hand may

swerve to caress

everywhere our bodies kiss the

swelling air.

Feet kicking forward,

swinging the ilium arch

ahead in the afternoon’s

languorous light,

every gluteus maximus

self-aware of its mission

at the center of gravity and

levity and unfolded locomotion

before and after sitting.

And all this under the elms

who, in their slow tongue,

whisper birds to each other

odes of envy for

our feet and our

soft sex.

Interview with Corey S. Pressman

by Michael Chang, Pine Row Editorial Board

1. Change my life in 3 poems.

Achieving Perspective by Pattiann Rogers

The Truth by Ross Gay

A Coast of Trees by AR Ammons

2. Influences outside of poetry (fashion, movies, music, etc.)? List 5.

Mark Rothko

Alexander Calder

Daniel Pinkwater

Grateful Dead

Jeff Vandermeer

3. Influences inside poetry? List 5.

Pattiann Rogers

AR Ammons

Naomy Shihab Nye

Ross Gay

Mary Ruefle

4. What's on your mind these days?

I’m spending a lot of energy on developing a visual art practice. This happily requires a lot of intellectual, emotional, and physical attention. I am also perpetually preoccupied with how to better introduce the arts and humanities to everyday life for my clients.

5. Where do you live? Best kept secret about your city?

Portland, OR | Lair Hill Bistro

6. How long have you been writing? Why did you start writing? How has your style/voice evolved?

I started writing as a form of escapism as a child - probably around 12. At that time, I was really into Tolkein, Asimov, and ee cummings. I wrote scifi short stories and odd little poems. Despite a few fits and starts, I took a long hiatus from writing seriously and only started up again some five years ago. I still write scifi stories and odd little poems.

7. Do you believe that one can be taught to be a good poet? What's the best writing advice you've ever heard?

Absolutely. I feel poetry is more permitted rather than taught. We already think in poetry; we just require permission and courage to write this way. As far as good poetry, I plead the beholder defense.

Best art advice I ever received was from Art and Fear by David Bayles: “ is always ahead of execution, knowledge of materials is your contact with reality, and uncertainty is a virtue.”

8. What are some motifs you're sick of seeing in poetry? (e.g., florals, gasoline, teeth, and so on)

All motifs are welcome.

9. What is the role of poetry in the world today?

Beyond the everyday amazing utility of poetry, I don’t rightly know—but I am trying my darndest to expand its surface area.

10. Thing that would surprise people about you? Mine is that I like country music.

I listen to Howard Stern almost every day.

11. Top singer of the last decade?

Aldous Harding

12. How would you like to improve your craft? Where (artistic direction) do you see your poetics going in 2020?

I would like to permit myself to at least start out more fluidly and abstractly. I would like to see my work get more quick, raw, and daring.

13. Angel or demon?


14. Dream getaway:

Greenwich Village with a healthy per diem. Preferably in 1972.

15. Unpopular literary opinion:

There should be more science fiction poetry.

16. Superstition(s) you subscribe to:

All magical thinking

17. Is your work autobiographical? What is your relationship to form?

My poems are almost always based in my emotional/physical experience. I flirt with stricter form, but don’t have what it takes to ask it to go steady.

18. Any books/poems you've been meaning to read but haven't gotten to?

Stephen King’s On Writing, and Mary Olivers’ essays. I’d also like to read Dahlgren again.

19. Anything you'd like to try in a poem that you haven't tried before?

Going long.

20. Please craft a short response to this poem (guess who's coming to dinner at 38 oxley road) by Michael Chang:

The contextualizing with official texts and histories is a powerful narrative move, like a vestibule with interpretative placards. Then it breaks free into thought and ends in orgasm. Pure realism.

****** Break some news! What's next? What are you excited about?

I am very excited to have my short story Three Burgers accepted for the Summer issue of Gastronomica. I’ve always loved that journal and am really pleased to participate with 1) creative nonfiction 2) about hamburgers.

Corey S. Pressman is a writer, artist, and teacher living in Portland, Oregon. He has published poetry, academic chapters, and short stories. Corey works with individuals and organizations to enable purposeful decision-making. He also regularly teaches cooking. Corey is currently Director of the Lifefinding Program at the Wayfinding Academy.