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The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

A Visit to Planet Lemtron

By Jesse Sawyer

Professors are not so exotic an animal as we sometimes make them out to be. They listen to music, read books, watch things, eat things, digest things, and speak in full sentences as well as fragmented ones. Some of them understand pop culture, and others donƒ?TMt. In this inaugural edition of what I hope will be a regular column, I set out to talk to professors about their cultural consumption and opinions. For this edition, I talked to English visiting instructor Alex Lemon, in a series of e-mails, conversations, and smoke signals. These discussions revealed an acute appreciation of all things indie rock, poetic, and joytastic, and a disarming sense of self that has made Lemon a favorite of creative writing students as well as an up-and-comer in the local poetry and arts scene.Mac Weekly: Alex, this is an e-mail. But Iƒ?TMll add in things such as this to make it sound like we actually conversed in person for this part. So Iƒ?TMll write in that you responded with ƒ?oeThat sounds great, Jesse,ƒ?? even though you actually didnƒ?TMt.

Alex Lemon: That sounds great, Jesse.

MW: Alright. For starters, what cds are currently in your stereo?

AL: Bonnie Prince Billie and Tortoise- The Brave and the Bold, Love is All- Nine Times That Same Song, and Sam Cooke- Portrait of a Legend

MW: What DVD is in your player?

AL: Wolphin #1, but I have been watching a lot of the ART 21 series.

MW: What book is next to your bed/toilet/desk/inside your car (Have you ever tried reading while driving? Itƒ?TMs a blast!)?

AL: I am constantly reading. But this morning I was rereading Gillian Conoleyƒ?TMs newest book of poems, Profane Halo, especially the poem ƒ?oePox,ƒ?? that ends resigning of both Milton and the Beach Boys with its ƒ?oeFor I have the warmth / of the sun / within me at night.ƒ?? And yes. I read and drive. All the time. And I am half blind. Beware.

MW: Youƒ?TMre on a deserted island. Donƒ?TMt ask why. Itƒ?TMs a tragicomedy of errors, most of which werenƒ?TMt youƒ?TMre fault, causing you to lose any hope you once kindled for some sort of benevolent god. We donƒ?TMt have space to get into it. However, assuming the island has a hi-fi stereo, dvd player, hi-definition television, and comfortable chair (as most deserted islands worth their coconuts do these days), what film(s), book(s), and album(s) do you want to have with you?

AL: I channel my inner dolphin, and read John Donne and Wallace Stevens and H.D. and some Denis Johnson and Raymond Carver stories. Iƒ?TMd listen to Ornette Coleman and Shuggie Otis. When it rains I listen to the rain and Mississippi John Hurt and Sam Cooke. There would be hip-hop in the trees. Iƒ?TMd stare at the sun.
MW: Okay. Do you haveƒ?”

AL: –I want an encyclopedia on my island too.

MW: Done. So, do youƒ?”

AL: –And Hot Tamales.

MW: Okay. Do you have any guilty pleasure picks?

AL: Huey Lewis and the News. And the Mac Weekly. Thatƒ?TMs every professorƒ?TMs guilty pleasure. They secretly read it. Itƒ?TMs like porn. However, I donƒ?TMt feel guilty about any of my pleasures, really. So much of everything is bad, why self-flaggelate?

(At this point, a crazed man began shooting at Alex, wounding him in the lower thigh with an air gun. After the man was tackled by campus security, Alex refused medical attention, and instead did the remainder of the interview standing in his boxers, blood slowly trickling down his leg.)

MW: Jesus Christ, are you okay? You should get to a hospital.

AL: (In a thick German accent) It was not a significant bullet. I am not afraid.

MW: Um, okay… Letƒ?TMs talk about your own work. What do you have coming out?

AL: I have a chapbook, At Last Unfolding Congo, coming out this summer. It is a forty-page poem inspired by prints a friend of mine made based on Boccaccioƒ?TMs Decameron. And my first full-length book of poems, Mosquito, will be published by Tin House Books in September. I just finished another book, Hallelujah Blackout. I am working on a memoir and doodling a lot.

MW: If there was a movie of your life, who would play you?

AL: Umƒ?Ý someone who has a crusty face. Who has a crusty face?

MW: Wellƒ?Ý I donƒ?TMt know. Seal?

AL: Yes! Seal. Seal would play me.

MW: And who would be on the soundtrack?

AL: A studio jam session with Marc Bolan and Rahzel. And Joanna Newsom would drop in with her harp. Oh, and my mom would play accordion. The cover art would be done by Fancis Bacon.

MW: Finally, wouldnƒ?TMt it be great if I inserted a ridiculously over-pretentious quote about your own work and then falsely attribute it to you?

AL: Yes. As a matter of fact, my work is, at its essence, (post-) post-modern, so meta-poetic, it no longer exists in the realm of art at all. It is only the deconstruction of its immanently vanished selfƒ?Ý itƒ?TMs actually just blank pages. The moment I write an idea, it negates itself, but this negation is no longer negation qua the event of negation. It just doesnƒ?TMt exist. Dig?

MW: Totally.

Alex Lemon has a website that you should visit. It is hot like gangbusters. He also likes the following things: Fat Lip, amphetamine rock nƒ?TM roll, mediocre rap music, and comic books.

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