Q&A with Kyle McCord

kyle-webWhat are some of your literary works that you will be showing at the festival?

I just had a new book come out this year entitled You Are Indeed an Elk But This is Not the Forest You Were Born to Graze. It features haunted swanboats, starstruck rodeo servants, and more irony than any book should hold.


What are you most looking forward to for this event?

I’ve been told that Marc Dickinson, to promote the event, will actually be leading a dogsled team with a banner for the Literary Celebration to and from his home each morning. Also, the readings by nationally-renowned writers sound like they will be pretty good too.


What is the highlight of your literary career? Or career in general?

It felt pretty darn good to win the Orphic Prize. Winning the Baltic Writing Residency was pretty unbelievable too. In terms of career, getting up to teach at DMACC feels pretty wonderful. This answer is one of the few where I will be absolutely serious.


What message will you be conveying to the students who attend the festival?

I’ll primarily be pitching my new product “Slow-gurt” which is a yogurt that has to be eaten without moving. The marketing is primarily geared toward sloths, snails, and the elderly, but I’m hopeful that I might find a test market among easy-going surfer types.

Also, I may discuss how literature is as essential as food or water and something that is happening right here in Central Iowa.



What are you currently working on (as far as literary works)?

I’m working on a book of ekphrastic poems that center around major artistic works of the Western canon. In order to make the work more accessible, I’m also working on turning the book into an installment in the Call of Duty series entitled Call of Duty: Shoot Your Way Through A Series of Ekphrastic Poems Inspired by the Western Canon of Art.


What (or who) inspires you? Was there a professor in college or teacher in high school who helped you get to where you are today in the literary field?

As a child, I was a big fan of Optimus Prime (pre-Michael Bay who ruins everything). However, after receiving a letter back from the Hasbro toy company that Optimus could not write my letter for graduate school because he was, in their words, “a fictional character,” I lost a lot of respect for him.

So, I’m going to say John Rosenwald who took me under his wing when I was just a fledgling poet. However, there are so very, very many people who have helped me along the way. You don’t get a job as crazy amazing (this also is not a joke) without a little help. It is also hugely inspirational to see students every day carving out a space in the world of writing for themselves and working toward something greater. In all earnestness, I absolutely admire that.

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