An Interview with Donavon Davidson, "A Simple Guide for Asking Questions"


Can you discuss the meaning of the title or origin of the poem?

The origin of this poem is a result of several years working on another  manuscript, Everything is Conditional Love Poems, in which I take common cliches, etc., and take them out of context, all with the intent of creating new meanings and associations in contemporary culture. It only seemed natural, then, to start questioning questioning. Again, though, I wanted it to be something more than just an exercise in language. I wanted to illuminate the human condition as it is now so preoccupied with technology. The title is, at it seems, a kind of playful allusion to this, that is, even though we are so immersed with information at a lightening speed, the same old questions still consume us.

You're on a deserted island with only one poem. Which one is it and why?

"Fern Hill" by Dylan Thomas.  I have yet to find a poem that transports me so entirely as this one.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I try to stay open to inspiration in all places at all times.  I am always looking for what life is giving me, and, as a result, I have to try and deconstruct certain associations that might undermine and limit new ways of seeing.  Sometimes this can happen in the most inconvenient places, such as when I'm driving or in a department store.  Like many writers I carry a little notebook to jot down my thoughts.  I would say, however, that the most inconvenient place I find inspiration is in the early hours of the morning, especially between 2-4 a.m.  It is too easy not to get up and say to myself "I'll remember when I get up."  I never do.  So I have to force myself to get up and write it down.  That said, those ideas are usually the most interesting.

How would you describe your process? This is a difficult question, for my process changes from piece to piece.  Sometimes I have to really delve into the history of a topic or learn new terminology.  Other times I stare out the window or up at the ceiling for hours upon hours.  I would say my favorite place to write is on my bed.  Because it can take hours before I write a single line, I like to stretch out and be as comfortable as possible.

Would you rather have the power of invisibility or the power of flight. Why?

Invisibility.  No question.  Observation is my true talent.  Writing is only an afterthought. So, to be anywhere and unseen would be ideal, for you would witness behaviors and truths from people who would otherwise temper and restrain them if they knew someone was watching.