Thursday, January 15, 2009


Alessandro Porco for DESK SPACE


“To Carthage I came, where there sang all around me in my ears a cauldron of unholy loves.” – Saint Augustine

DS When did you start writing?

AP As a freshman at Queen’s University, I took an introductory survey course in English literature, and that was that. I heard— that is, felt and comprehended— T.S. Eliot’s “rhythmic grumblings”: they put me on my way.

DS Where do you write?

AP These days, I live in a small studio in Allentown, a nice neighborhood in Buffalo, New York. I work at a desk that’s set-up in a little sun-filled alcove (it’s rainy today, not so sun-filled) that looks out to the tree-filled yard. It’s lovely. It’s really quiet.

Generally, on my desk you’ll find a coffee, my laptop, CDS, and flowers (my girlfriend’s a florist). The floor around my computer has all the books I’m currently working with. I don’t have a lot of space and the floor’s as good as anywhere else.

Given that I’m working on my PhD on hip-hop, not surprisingly the CDs are usually hip-hop related. (Been listening to a lot of Biggie, in anticipation of the bio pic coming out soon).

DS What are you working on now?

AP I just had a collection of poetry published this past spring— Augustine in Carthage, and Other Poems (ECW Press)— of which I am very proud. I do write a monthly hip-hop column for Maisonneuve Magazine Online; it’s called “In Extremis.” The latest column is “Five Great Hip-Hop Albums You’ve Probably Never Heard.” Check it out at! Forthcoming columns include an interview with Canadian poet / DJ Wayde Compton. I’m also busy teaching an “Introduction to Poetry” survey class in the department of English at SUNY-Buffalo.

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