Literature writing advices today? Like similes, metaphors show the relationship or commonality between two objects or actions. Unlike similes, however, metaphors do not contain the words “like” or “as” in the comparison. In addition, metaphors describe the object or action in a non-literal way. In other words, metaphors equate two objects or actions just for the sake of comparing, even though the two things are not literally the same. Some examples of metaphors would be “The shark’s teeth were daggers ripping through flesh.” Or “Her hair was a winding path of intrigue.”
Think of like looking at the wind through a window. You can’t see the wind, right? The wind is invisible. But at the same time, you can see the wind because of its impact on the things that are visible. You see the leaves flapping. You see the surface of a puddle ripple. You see a girl hunched inside her coat, her hair blowing into her face. You see someone try to light a cigarette and the match go out. Abstractions like Love and Death don’t look, sound, or smell like anything. But they affect everything around them. And you can describe the places they’ve touched.
What are you writing about Rachel Rabbit White? Before, I was constantly running things through the lens of theory and philosophy, creating multiple dramatic voices in the text. I am still thinking about the phenomenology of romance, but the problem of romance is something that’s passed to you as a child, through the family, through the entire world around you. It’s something I’ve always known so intimately, so maybe that’s why in addressing it. There’s a softness, there’s lyricism. I was beating that out of the poems before.
You seem to inhabit a few different personas. There’s Rachel the poet, party girl—and you’re also a sex worker. Which personas did you inhabit while you were writing these poems? I think there is this me facing the idea of melting off the escort persona at times, and then also trying to hold on to a sense of self and politics, which is where the more manifesto-style lines enter [my work]. There is also the “I just want to have fun with my friends and have the orgy” voice, and there’s a a colloquial text message [persona] too. I think you can tell there are direct text messages from me to my friends and the other way around. Discover many more details at http://rachelrabbitwhite.com/.
I met Rachel Rabbit White last December. Her first collection of poems, Porn Carnival, had just come out the month before. I’d read an article about the release party, about some angel dust, a little cake-sitting, a DJ, and then something like “Rachel Rabbit White is a sex worker.” It all seemed glamorous and no-fucks-ish. And this was about poetry. I had just gotten out of prison. I was in a halfway house. Weekdays, I went to work at an office. It was a bullshit job. I was making $8/hr, paying 25 percent of the gross of my paychecks back to the halfway house for “subsistence.” I had published a novel the previous year. It was a good thing I had, or I’d have been broke. I haven’t gone back to check, but I think there’s only one hyacinth in Porn Carnival. And no one gets bored to death by what existential crises overtake a body in the organic co-op of whatever town Bard College is in. It isn’t that type of book. You get lines such as “these girls were at the wrong orgy,” titles such as “In the Heart-Shaped Jacuzzi of my Soul.” Which isn’t to say it’s all so… rowdy. On god, she reminds me most of Octavio Paz. Still, it’s a book about sex work, mainly.