Monday, July 21, 2008

What the Funk?: Hannah Faith Notess

Hannah Faith Notess served as poetry editor of Indiana Review from 2007-08 and helped assemble the poetry in the awesome Funk issue. For Misstra Knowitall, one of the true pleasures of being the editor of Indiana Review was having the opportunity to work with such a brilliant team of creative people who are about their business and Hannah was no different. She was so committed that one of my fondest IR memories is coming into the office to find her curled up on the couch sleep. And if you've seen how small our couch is, you know that's saying a lot.

How was the process (reading, selecting, soliciting work, etc.) unique from the other stuff in the issue?

It's hard to get a group of people together in a room and decide if a poem is good or not. If you have seven different editors, you're going to have seven slightly different views of what makes a good poem. And then deciding if something is funky or not, on top of being good--that's even harder.

But all that aside, once we sorted out what was good, we just let the funk take over. Basically, a poem had to hit us over the head with its funkiness; otherwise we had to let it slide--or put it in a different part of the magazine. Fortunately, several poems hit us over the head with their it all worked out.

Funkier: Batman or the Incredible Hulk?

Well, the Hulk is green. That helps. Batman can be pretty cool at times, and he has had some nice cars, but he is honestly not that funky. Then again, as the rejection slip said, I don't consider myself the arbiter of funk. I appreciate your candor and honesty. I consulted my answer sheet and the correct response is Hulk. For more information, please consult this previous post.

Was there something you learned, about funk or poetry or whatever, from working on this issue?

I received a funk education. I knew almost nothing about funk prior to working on this issue. I still don't know a whole lot, but the music's been a great discovery for me.

Funkier: apple butter or grape jelly?

Apple butter's got more substance. Though I'm not sure either one is really funky. What do you think?I get the feeling that if they had a dance contest, grape jelly would be styling on apple butter, so I'ma have to go with the jelly.

What's your favorite funky IR memory?

It's hard to choose, because there were so many standout moments, but the Variations on Funk reading with Tyehimba Jess, Aracelis Girmay, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Patrick Rosal that we had in the Waldron Arts Center stands out. I felt so privileged to be able to have a hand in bringing them to Bloomington; they are all such amazing poets! And the atmosphere in the room was electric.
Most definitely. If you go to the Indiana Review Bluelight blog you can hear what we're talking about. Just click on the "posts" icon on the top right and pick the Variations on Funk reading. Check it.

Funkier: Indiana University patriarchs Elisha Ballantine or Herman B Wells?

I've definitely smelled something funky in the halls of Ballantine. And check out his hair!

No doubt. I haven't seen a process that clean since Goldie in The Mack. Elisha is funktastic!

Funk jam you keep on heavy rotation?

"If You Want Me to Stay" by Sly and the Family Stone.


Funk: Animal, vegetable, or mineral?

I would have to go with vegetable because of the way it grows on you.

What the funk is HFN up to, Post-IR?

I'm moving to Seattle next month! So right now I'm packing. Or pretending to pack.

Thanks, Hannah!

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