BMC got a special treat when Dr. Connor Fisher was invited to read from his recently published book of poems titled The Isotope of I as well as from his chapbook Special Geometry. I got the chance to attend the poetry reading held in the Modenia Lowrey Building Auditorium and, as a student of Dr. Fisher’s poetry class, I along with others got the chance to see Dr. Fisher’s talents shine through his works.
I interviewed Dr. Fisher, whose PhD is in poetry, before the reading took place. We discussed The Isotope of I and Special Geometry and what went into them. Although not the first works he has published, these are the first big publications he has had. “To get it published was wonderful… This is, by far, the biggest single piece of work I’ve had accepted.” The world of publishing, he said, was a long time coming. “The book that turned out to be The Isotope of I, I had originally started a few years earlier under a different title. It had a very different tone… I wrote a book and showed it to some good friends and it just wasn’t working, and they gave me some feedback that was really helpful… It probably took about two years from when I was first writing it to print.”
When asked what sort of emotions he hoped to provoke in his reading, he had this to say: “Some audiences like my writerly friends in Georgia and Denver are going to be very familiar with my references.” One of these references, he notes, is Gertrude Stein. However, he had different expectations for the reading done on campus. “I am going to be reading to people who read very little poetry… I want people to get a sense of the surreal playfulness of the poems, the way they can start moving in one direction and then shift into another.”
He described how he selected poems for The Isotope of I: “I went out into my living room,” he told me. “I threw the poems all over the place—dozens, maybe hundreds, of sheets of paper—and, over the course of an afternoon, I would pick them up, read it, decide if it was a keeper or not. That was intuition, a gut reaction guiding me. I then divided the book up into sections I thought cohesive.”
“It made me very self-reflective,” said Matthew Blackwelder after the reading. Grace Smith remarked that she was likewise affected.