Tuesday, January 31, 2012

MFA Greensboro Alum Matt O'Donnell Interviewed about From the Fishouse

Matt O'Donnell: An Interview with the From the Fishouse Creator
I (Deborah) had the pleasure of interviewing Matt O’Donnell via email about the From the Fishouse website. I’ve always admired people who started unique web projects related to poetry— No Tell Motel, Anti-, Verse Daily, CellPoems, etc.

Matt O'Donnell and Camille Dungy1. What led you to start Fishousepoems.org?

Fishouse started entirely by accident. It started as a way for me to memorize poems on my commute to work. I asked my friend Camille Dungy if she’d record for me. Honestly, at this point, I forget exactly how we came to it, but we decided it’d be cool to get a couple of recorders and send them around to other poets to do the same thing. Then we thought, well, other people will want to hear these recordings, too, so let’s post them on a website. That was 2004, and it was still a little unusual to have online recordings of poets, especially poets early in their careers.

The idea went from a personal project to public one pretty quickly. In just a couple of months, I was filling out IRS applications to set up a non-profit so that we’d be eligible for donations and grants to fund the project, and we were putting together by-laws and a board of directors.

From the start, the purpose of the Fishouse has been two-fold: to give poets early in their careers—“emerging” poets-—a platform for their work; and to give poetry fans and teachers and students the opportunity to hear poets reading their own work.

We needed a way to limit the overwhelming number of poets to choose to record, and we figured that more established poets have more outlets for their work. We had to come up with a definition of “emerging,” and Camille and I settled on poets with fewer than two books at the time of submission to Fishouse. As time has passed, of course, poets we recorded as “emerging” have now “emerged,” and so Fishouse serves as an archive in this way. Also, there are special “bonus” poets on the site, poets well outside the “emerging” definition, who I record and post when a chance arises.

Read the full interview here: http://www.32poems.com/blog/2635/matt-odonnell-an-interview-with-the-from-the-fishouse-creator

Find out more about the MFA Writing Program here:http://mfagreensboro.org


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