“Which path are you going to take,” asked the wolf,
“the path of needles or the path of pins?”
No. 11: Sarah Kortemeier
In your opinion, who is the most overlooked fairy tale character?
Myself, probably. Is that narcissistic? It’s just that I’ve wanted to be a fairy tale character for so long. I don’t really have the courage or the singleness of purpose you need, but I keep trying. Maybe one day a fairy tale will take me in.
The line breaks in “Expatriate” bolster the poem’s relationship between place and escape. What is your approach to this craft aspect of poetry?
What a great question. I’ve always thought of this poem’s stanza breaks in that way, but the line breaks are doing work of their own, of course. I think the line breaks here are often trying to enact that stoppage of motion in the fourth stanza: “Arrests / our long glissando into the grass” (so there’s a desperate and futile desire to escape the passage of time, among other things). In general terms, I try to think of line breaks in terms of accumulation vs. interruption; either way, line breaks help me to refocus my attention.
You are a realtor with Once Upon a Property, Inc. with listings in Wonderland, Narnia and Oz. Describe your sales pitch for each.
Eat Me, Drink Me, Expand and Puncture yourself in this fabulous duplex.
This ain’t your grandma’s wardrobe!
This innovative mansion is all space, no walls; all poppies, no Pyrex. Let the outside in. Book your open house today.
Interview conducted by Fairy Tale Review Poetry Editor Jon Riccio.
Sarah Kortemeier’s poem “Expatriate” appears in The Emerald Issue of Fairy Tale Review.
Ausländerin. German. Foreigner; outside-country woman.
外国人[gaikokujin]. Japanese. Foreigner; outside-country person.
I lack this courage: to walk barefoot in a nightgown
through the grass. To stand in my own
garden and think, I planted this. Tomorrow, we will eat.
I have a picture in my head
of a surfer’s shadow interrupting moonlight
on foam, though that’s too dangerous
to be real. The summer can’t end.
We know the Beijing Wall was built for defense.
We tend not to realize it’s a small mountain range.
In my photograph, his face
is tangled in leaf shadows.
The wooden recorder at his lip
holds back song. Arrests
our long glissando into the grass.
There is something to be gained from the boar
who comes trampling through my corn.
For one, there is his neck,
throbbing and scratching at my elbows
as I hurl myself to catch him.
For another, there is his breath,
hot with escape. I dig in my heels.