... as I was a few weeks ago: Jacob MacArthur Mooney has done it again. Check out his totally bitchin' interview with poet Paul Vermeersch over on The Torontoist website.
Notice how Jake keeps his questions focussed almost exclusively on the literature in question: in this case, Paul's new poetry collection, The Reinvention of the Human Hand, due out next month. There isn't a canned query ("Are you a morning writer or an evening writer?", "What advice would you give someone wanting to be a poet?", "How has your childhood informed your work?") anywhere to be found. Each and every question is tailored to the interviewee, and confirms that Jake has read the poetry at hand closely and given it a great deal of thought. His questions help to centre Paul's work both within the context of other poets (Hughes, Boorson, Lilburn) and within the cultural events that helped inform the poems (Koko the gorilla; Laika, the dog that the Russians sent into space). He also keeps trivialities and canned emotion out of the discussion. It isn't until the very end of the interview that he ventures to ask Paul something resembling a "personal" question, and it's a thoughtful one at that. Perfect.
Jake definitely gets my Worthy of Wachtel Award of the Day. Looking forward to more of his literary interviews in The Torontoist.