Ariana Reines Interview: The Impulse of Poetry


Meet American poet Ariana Reines, who has been described as one of the crucial voices of her generation. In this video, she talks openly about how extreme familial circumstances “pushed” her into poetry, and how writing lets you enter the deepest levels of experience.

“You can’t be closed in literature – it opens you. And so, it’s a way of entering a space where you’re in very, very profound intimacy with another consciousness,” says Reines. Poetry, she continues, is a mirror that “allows you to reflect on your state.” Escaping reality isn’t an option, and getting a grip on reality means getting a grip on language: “How do you be in it and have a space that allows you to have some agency over your own consciousness, while at the same time letting in everything that’s happening?” In this, Reines feels, poetry is an essential tool.

“My body went into language, and the language came into me in this way that made it possible for me to survive. It became something that I lived on, which is insane.” Reines feels that the point when her family fell apart – when her paranoid-schizophrenic mother became homeless and she and Reines’ brother moved into her dorm room for six weeks – was a defining point for her. Literature became the only place she could go, as she had “no physical space from this catastrophe.”

Ariana Reines (b. 1982) is an award-winning American poet, playwright, performance artist, and translator. Her books of poetry include ‘The Cow’ (2006), ‘Coeur de Lion’ (2007), ‘Mercury’ (2011), ‘Thursday’ (2012) and ‘A Sand Book’ (2019). She is also the author of the Obie-winning play ‘Telephone’ (2009). Reines participated in the 2014 Whitney Biennial as a member of Semiotext(e) and has created performances and art projects for the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim and more.

Ariana Reines was interviewed by Christian Lund in October 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Camera: Miguel de Zuviría & Nicanor Montes
Sound: Tomás Guiñazú
Produced by: Christian Lund
Edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2019

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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