Saturday, January 27, 2007

Talking with the QT

Quincy Troupe visits town February 15 courtesy of The Lannan Foundation and the Institute of American Indian Arts, and I'm working up a preview piece for the Reporter. I reached him at "the Historic Sundy House" hotel in Delray Beach Florida, where he's staying while participating in a poetry reading and workshop. (The Artist in America very occasionally snags these luxurious gigs...) "When would be a good time to interview you?" I asked. "Right now! I haven't even unpacked my bags, just got here, just walked in the door. I'll be here until Sunday but we can do the interview now!"

That was a surprise. I hadn't done my homework. I know Troupe from two books: the Miles Davis autobiography and Troupe's own account of the experience of working with Mr. Davis, Miles and Me. I remembered vague trumpetings (sorry) about his poetry, including that he had won the Heavyweight Slam Championship at the Taos Poetry Circus a couple of times (1994, 1995).

Usually I try to keep my "look good" happening. This time, for some reason, I heard myself say "well, I'd love to do the interview right now, but I haven't done my homework-- I've never read any of your poetry and I know you only through the Miles Davis books." (There was that other little voice, in my head, saying "what the hell are you doing?? don't say that!!" etc.).

Fortunately Troupe found that hilarious and, referring to his writing career as "schizophrenic," he launched into the interview at full steam. An hour and fifteen minutes later the proceedings temporarily concluded. I hope we can also do a prerecorded discussion of music that I can run on my radio show. The print interview will run February 14th and I'll link to it. Troupe was by turns hilarious, passionate, insightful, distractable and had all the energy of a Sunny Murray performance.

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