Hello, this is Eric LeMay, a host on New Books in Literature, a channel on the New Books Network. Today I interview Kathleen Rooney about her new collection of poems, Where Are the Snows (Texas Review Press, 2022). The book takes its title from the famous refrain of François Villon's 15th Century poem "Ballad of the Ladies of Times Past." Like that poem, the book wonders, "Where are they?" as in "Where are the ones who came before us?"—the beautiful, the strong, the virtuous, all of them? In keeping with that long tradition, these poems offer a way to think about life's transience—its beauty, its absurdity, and of course its mortality. Allusive and associative, anti-capitalist, and unapologetically political, aligned somewhere between comedy and anger, this poetry juxtaposes the triumphs and tragedies (mostly tragedies) of our current age with those of history, and—by wondering "Where are they?"—explores the questions of where we are now and where we might be going. Join me in encountering the keen and brilliant novelist, critic, editor, and poet, Kathleen Rooney.
Eric LeMay is on the creative writing faculty at Ohio University. He is the author of five books, most recently Remember Me. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.