Yes, This Must Be Ginger: Eric Baus and Liz Ahl as Responders to a Questionnaire

Different poets. Definitely. But lingering together here.

Eric Baus' newish book, Tuned Droves, can be procured from Octopus Books. May he live a long, and sturdy life.

Liz Ahl won the 2008 Slapering Hol annual chapbook competition with her A Thirst That's Partly Mine. An oft recalled mentor from the UVA Young Writer's Workshop.

Eric Baus: Poetry Lives

Describe your typical breakfast:
Gorilla Munch cereal and rice milk. Coconut milk yogurt or coconut milk kefir. Chamomile tea and/or horrible tasting tea made from herbs my acupuncturist has prepared. I just found this cereal that is like a gluten-free version of Apple Jacks that I like a lot. Sometimes I eat a grapefruit or an apple.

What book is on your bedside table?
Andrea Rexilius, To Be Human Is To Be A Conversation
Juliana Spahr, Live (Duration Press)
Jean Daive, Under the Dome: Walks with Paul Celan (Burning Deck)

Favorite place in the world.
My public garden plot in Denver. Even though it's covered in snow now I still like to visit it. I share the plot with Andrea Rexilius, who just got a book about plant ESP. I think this will help when things start to grow again.

Did/Do you have a “mentor?”
My undergraduate poetry teacher George Kalamaras. He turned me onto a lot of good things early on and was very patient and very encouraging.

Most important skill you acquired pursuing your MFA?
Recording, listening to, and digitally archiving poetry readings.

Do you have a favorite verse from a “holy” scripture?
I have a favorite line: "Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me." from Psalm 23. I like thinking about "staff" here as a group of personal assistants ensuring my comfort.

This probably belongs to a separate category than holy scripture, but I really like Yoko Ono's "Snow Piece":

Think that snow is falling. Think that snow is falling everywhere all the time. When you talk with a person, think that snow is falling between you and on the person. Stop conversing when you think the person is covered by snow.

Preferred drink:
Lately it's been Reeds extra strong ginger beer.

I've been listening to an unabridged recording of Moby Dick on librivox and I just heard this part:

"Ginger ? Do I smell ginger ? " suspiciously asked Stubb, coming near. " Yes, this must be ginger," peering into the as yet untasted cup. Then standing as if incredulous for a while, he calmly walked towards the astonished steward slowly saying, " Ginger ? ginger ? and will you have the goodness to tell me, Mr. Dough-Boy, where lies the virtue of ginger?"

To me, giving someone a ginger brew after a life-threatening ordeal makes perfect sense. It's delicious and very good for your stomach.

Liz Ahl: Poetry Lives

Describe your dinner last night:
Scrambled eggs with green pepper and sharp cheddar, slice & a half of the last of the delicious bacon we bought from Gitch's Funny Farm up here in NH, toast, banana bread.

What book is on your bedside table?
The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten (I just finished it, but it's still there -- I'm thinking of diving next into the pile of chapbooks I picked up at Grolier's last month)

Favorite place in the world:
We moved every couple of years when I grew up. I find this a difficult question -- been to a lot of places. I guess, this morning, I'll say it's Lubec Maine, on the channel, where the crazy Fundy tides creep up and down every day, and there's usually not another soul to be found on the cobble beach.

Did/Do you have a “mentor?” Who is s/he?
I'm not sure I did/do. I've had a lot of terrific teachers who meant a lot to me and were profoundly generous with their time and attentions. Standout among them is the poet Grace Bauer. It feels funny to call her my mentor, though. I'm not sure why. Grace, were you my mentor? I think mentor implies an intensity of one-on-one-ness that I'm not sure I've experienced over an extended period with any of my teachers, but Grace comes closest. Thanks, Grace!

Are you the caretaker of an animal? What is his/her name?
Not only am I not the caretaker of an animal, I am in charge of keeping the basement mouse-free. I've got my eye on the chipmunks, whose network of tunnels in our yard may turn all 2.4 of our acres to swiss cheese -- but, to be fair, they are just outside doing their chipmunky business, not in the basement, chewing on our stuff. I think that they just realized this year that the dog who used to live here (before we bought the house) isn't coming back. They are psyched. They are busy.

Do you have a favorite verse from a “holy” scripture?
I do not. But now I think I should. I'll work on that.

Preferred drink.
Now that we're getting into winter: the Manhattan returns as the staple cocktail. I realize you didn't specify cocktail, but, well, there it is.

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