Sarah Marcus-Donnelly: Camille Rankine beautifully writes that you “interrogate the very notion of beauty, its construction within a white supremacist world, and the how the cages our culture has built of it can hold us captive within our own minds.” In Colton Behavioral Therapy, you’ve created a world of both always and never where these impossible, conflicting, and toxic societal standards of gender and identity are imposed, and at the very least, self-enforced. Do you think there is any...
Sarah Marcus-Donnelly:A Thirst for Salt is a love letter to someone lost and the pleasure of beginnings. What I found so interesting was the insight into the lover, the “you.” There’s a context and history given to her that we are so rarely privy to when the “I” is suffering. The book questions our ability to have something or someone “forever”—maybe even the value of it. Can you talk to us about permanence (or lack thereof) and how it functions in this work?
Sarah Marcus-Donnelly: This book is a beautiful meditation on gender expression as deception, threat, protection, absolution, violence, and condemnation. Please tell us about the process of researching and choosing these specific stories to tell. Why was it important for you to tell these stories?
Fox Frazier-Foley: Thank you so much for your kind words about my work, Sarah. I’m honored to be having a conversation with you—about my work, and about feminism, theology, and myth.
Sarah Marcus-Donnelly: Your gorgeous new book, How to Prove a Theory, was the 2017 Jean Feldman Poetry Prize Winner. It is a meditation on grief and memory and human resilience. I have had the pleasure of listening to you read some of these poems, which made them even more tender and devastating for me. Can you tell us about the process of writing about grief? How long did it take you to write the collection? Can you share some background for this book?
Sarah Marcus: I think readers can relate to the beautiful anxiety and obsessive self-reflection in so many of your poems. In the poem, "How To Piss in Public and Maintain Femininity," you write: "...I want what I want/ regardless of social etiquette and the way/ I am ashamed of my unconscious by which I mean/ I say everything out loud in other words/ I never fucking learn my lesson." Should we ever learn our fucking lesson? Is it worth it? Would we gain or lose our empathy?