My friend Nathan McClain was interviewed for Collagist, and while some of the information is outdated – he now lives in New York and has been widely published – it’s a good read.
Nathan McClain lives and works in Los Angeles. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Quarterly West, Nimrod, The Journal, Toad, Linebreak, and Best New Poets 2010. A recipient of scholarships from Vermont Studio Center and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, he is currently an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College.
His poem, “Love Elegy in the Chinese Garden, with Koi,” appeared in Issue Forty-Nine of The Collagist.
Here, he speaks with interviewer, Darby K. Price, about botanical gardens, hindsight, and Elegance vs. Beauty.
Can you tell me a little bit about the origins of “Love Elegy in the Chinese Garden, with Koi”?
Well, the cause of the poem (if we’re considering the poem itself as an effect) was an excursion to the Huntington Botanical Gardens in Pasadena, CA. I’d met an attractive woman, who also seemed attracted to me, and we took this trip together—as friends. As you might imagine, there was good amount of tension and anxiety between us as we moved through the gardens. As a result, my early drafts of this poem, originally a triptych, attempted to explore the sense of anxiety between two people who could potentially become lovers.