What's the deal with the Seattle Poet Populist contest ? It's where you, the viewer/listener/reader, get to choose who you want to represent Seattle in


Jared Leising for Poet Populist

Why not?

What's the deal with the Seattle Poet Populist contest? It's where you, the viewer/listener/reader, get to choose who you want to represent Seattle in the world of verse for the year to come. For those who can't make the readings but want to vote in a learned, discerning manner, our primer—in which each candidate is asked the same grueling set of questions—continues.

Candidate #4: Jared Leising, 34, 826 Seattle

What movie character do you most identify with?
Mark Hunter in Pump Up the Volume.

(full interview after the jump) 

What organization nominated you, and what is your role in it?

826 Seattle, I've been a volunteer at 826 Seattle for the past three years, helping with fundraising and hiring, surveying and tutoring students, as well as teaching writing workshops. I also teach English at Cascadia Community College.

Who is your favorite poet?
Tony Hoagland

What's your favorite poem right now?
"Jet" by Tony Hoagland

What would your campaign slogan be for running for Seattle Poet Populist?
I'd quote what some say is the shortest poem of all time as delivered by Muhammed Ali during a commencement speech he gave in the early 70s: "Me, We."

Your campaign's theme song?
"Sugarcube" by Yo La Tengo

Who is your biggest celebrity crush?
Kirsten Dunst (after seeing her do the shopping cart dance on Ellen)

Can you share an anecdote about poetry touching your life?
When a student wrote me a thank you note that included this:  "I always made sure I wasn't sick on Tuesdays because I didn't want to miss the poetry . . . I had never written about solid things, or things I'd done before."

What is your biggest notable oddball talent?
Catching coins off my elbow (see below or this for a description).
"Take your hand, and place it palm upwards on your shoulder. Your elbow should now be pointing out in front of you. Take a pile of these coins and place them on the end of your elbow (you will find a nice flat spot there). Now pull your elbow down quickly and your hand over the top and grab the coins in your hand.  Note that the coins can be piled in more than one pile on your elbow. Do this event in front of a wall, and move all furniture away, as coins go all over the place."

If you couldn't write any more, how would you spend that excess time?
Reading with my son.

How long have you been writing?
Almost twenty years.

What poem has made you feel most uncomfortable? Has made you cry?
Uncomfortable:  "Fuck" by Kim Addonizio (whenever I assign it to my students)

Have you ever used poetry to win someone over or get them in the sack?

What's the most irritating aspect of the poetry scene?
Hearing poets dis other poets or events.

What was the last good book you read and fell in love with?
History of Vegas by Jodi Angel (a short story collection)

What are a few lines from a poem you've written that you'd consider one of your best?
"This is how we talk, how we listen—in duende and innuendo." - from the poem "Ledges"

Why should you win?
I "write for others" as well as any of the nominees, which means I'm a poet who is consistently engaged in a mix of publishing, performing, and working in the service of poetry (as a teacher and as a volunteer) throughout the Seattle area.

If elected Poet Populist, what would be your first order of business?
Read a poem.

To vote for Jared, go here.

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