James Cushing, Exit Poll

James Cushing, Exit Poll

Is your work political?

Not overtly

What is the place of literature in politics?
Fugitive. Literature, in the sense of the poetic spirit, is always ahead of politics, science, or economics — but as creators and readers of literature, we live our lives  embedded in these things. “We live in a political world,” and so our work is in it, but not of it.

What is your favorite political work?
The Autobiography of Malcolm X;” any collection of poems, stories, or essays by Wanda Coleman; the essays of James Baldwin; the early work of Allen Ginsberg.

Do you feel voting is important?
Extremely — and in 2020, it’s right up there with breathing.

What are your hopes for this election?
That the fascist tendency represented by Donald Dump and his Republican sycophants be overwhelmingly defeated. I am hoping for the death of the Republican party.

JAMES CUSHING, born 1953 in Palo Alto CA, holds a doctorate in English from UC Irvine. In the early 1980s, he hosted a live poetry radio program on KPFK-FM in Los Angeles which gave early exposure to Dennis Cooper, David Trinidad, Amy Gerstler, Wanda Coleman, Leland Hickman, and many others. From 1989 through 2020, he taught literature and creative writing at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and served as the community’s Poet Laureate for 2008 – 2010. Cushing’s poems have appeared in many journals. His daughter is the New York-based poet Iris Cushing.

Read more about him on his website: jamescushingpoetry.com

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