Gillian McCain interviews poet and visual artist Todd Colby about his favorite artists and influences
I met Todd Colby about 25 years ago when I was the program coordinator at the Poetry Project at St Marks Church. He is a fantastic performance-poet – a true force to be reckoned with – and a prolific writer. Now that Todd is the head honcho at 192 Books (check it out and support independent bookstores!), I see him more often. But if it weren’t for Instagram, I would not have known what a killer collagist he is…. Hope you dig these as much as we do. Below are the answers to a short questionnaire I sent Todd yesterday.
Gillian McCain: Who are some of your influences?
Todd Colby: Gertrude Stein, John Coltrane, John Ashbery, Sonic Youth, Bernadette Mayer, Captain Beefheart, Suicide, Joe Brainard, Glenn Branca, Frank O’Hara, Henri Michaux and Iggy Pop.
Gillian McCain: What is your world view?
Todd Colby: Sometimes you just have to pull down your pants and slide on the ice.
Gillian McCain: Who are your favorite artists?
Todd Colby: Joe Brainard and George Schneeman for their humor and delight in simply being alive. Also for their alignment with The Poetry Project and collaborations with many poets I love and respect. I also love Amy Sillman, Cecily Brown, Sue Williams, Louise Fishman, Jack Whitten and Goya. All of them are fierce, driven and absolutely electric.
Gillian McCain: What is your personal mission statement?
Todd Colby: It’s all going to be over soon, so why not?
Gillian McCain: What is your favorite anecdote in Please Kill Me?
Todd Colby: This passage has been underlined and starred my dog-eared copy for many years:
“Lou Reed: Music’s never loud enough. You should stick your head in a speaker. Louder, louder, louder. Do it Frankie, do it. Oh, how, oh do it, do it.”