Rustin Larson’s poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, North American Review, and other magazines
Fairfield poet Rustin Larson will give a reading of poems from his new book, Bum Cantos, Winter Jazz, & the Collected Discography of Morning, at 7:45 p.m. on Friday, October 18, upstairs at Revelations Café. The book is available at the café or online at Barnes & Noble. Rustin recently sat down with The Iowa Source to talk about his book, the creative process, and why he writes.
Tell me a little about the book.
Well, let’s see I guess these are mainly things that evolved after 2004. That was the time that I published Crazy Star which was my first major collection of poetry.
How do you decide which poems to include?
I try to see what type of themes or voices are evolving. As I look through the book I can see it’s largely memoir, but some of the memoirs are fictionalized or fantasized. There is one thread that is running through the book that follows the Bum Canto voice…. Those poems all deal with starving artists, so they have a variety of voices—sometimes a kind of stretched and weird voice, voices of people that may not be having enough food or not feeling very comfortable with their situation or have other issues going on.
You also have some paintings on display at the MUM library. I thought it was funny that you said in your artist statement, "Rustin Larson has no ambition as an artist."
I have no theories or anything about painting; I just do it once in a while. That’s what makes me relax or gets me out of myself and gives me something to do. If I had any real ambition about it, it wouldn’t be fun.
Do you have fun writing poetry?
Yeah, I have fun writing poetry. I suppose I get a little weary of the poetry world as it’s evolved with all the contests, and jostling for status and position in academic departments, or just the press or the perceived poetic world. That gets wearing. But I like to keep at it myself, the way I would even if there’s really no promise of publication or reward or any type of recognition.
Tell me a little bit about your creative process.
Well, I guess that’s really variable. Sometimes things spring up from inspiration, and sometimes I feel really restless and don’t feel any direction, so I might give myself an assignment…. Things seem to go better when I’m writing. I guess there’s a lot of reasons that I can’t put my finger on why that’s true, but just for my own happiness, it seems to be an important thing for me to keep it going.