David Lau


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Poet, editor, and essayist David Lau sat down for this On the Fly interview in November 2010. Lau, who studied in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop from 2001-2003, was in Iowa City to read at Prairie Lights with fellow Workshop grad Shane Book.

While he speaks of the formative influence of The Beats on his thinking, he also acknowledges the heavy influence of a more traditional approach to poetry that he immersed in during his time as a student at UCLA. “I’m steeped in a very traditional knowledge of what the poetic form is, and yet I sort of think that we need to still be coming up with new forms and still be thinking about how forms are evolving. My own sense of craft sometimes, my own sense of an aesthetic is really an anti-aesthetic.”

Lau goes on to identify a driving question in his own work and thought: “How do we poetize the present?”

Lau’s first book of poems was 2009’s Virgil and the Mountain Cat. In 2012, he published the chapbook Bad Opposites.