Alexa Poteet is a poet whose only studio is the world, and perhaps enough outer space to encompass the moon and one or two illustrious planets. Her work in progress is a life in progress, small studies of a larger unfinished piece. Poteet’s debut collection Carnivores (Lines + Stars, 2019) makes a wonderful airy entrance. Where there was an exit ramp to get out of a poem, she speeds by and pushes further. Writing about desire she is infinite, and her critical eye is not a judging eye. Poteet might find a stone on a walk. Maybe it’s veined with minerals. Who cares? Lots of poets found the same rock. But Poteet isn’t satisfied to write a poem about her ability to notice something, or a poem about the clever analysis of an observation only she can make. Instead, she moves the everyday stone and finds a hole. She looks inside, squirms into the cave, realizes she can stand, hears water sounds, borrows a raft and rows toward the faint image of a stranger she once knew.
BARRETT WARNER: I kept reading the title poem as “Lovers” instead of “Carnivores.” There is such intimacy in how your husband picks the white gristle of you out of his teeth, and your stigmata—barbecue sauce in your palms—which he licks up like a pilgrim. Can you talk about eating him? Would it be more like dining, or just tearing off a piece to snack on?
ALEXA POTEET: Eating my husband…Well the man has these huge calves straight out of a Honey Baked Ham catalog. I suppose I’d start there; maybe spiralized on tiny potato rolls like a 90th birthday party or a morose 1st communion celebration.
Read the rest of Barrett’s Entropy Magazine interview with Poteet here.