The Transmitter: Daniel Crocker Answers the Questions That Matter

DANIEL CROCKER’s last book was Like a Fish, from Sundress Publications. He teaches at Southeast Missouri State University and was the first ever winner of the Gerald Locklin Award for Poetry given by The Mas Tequila Review. His work has appeared in Hobart, Night Train, The Los Angeles Review, and many other journals.


ALTERNATING CURRENT: Describe your writing style to someone who’s never read you.

DANIEL CROCKER: Wow, that’s a tough question right out of the gate. I guess I’d describe it as the greatest gift ever bestowed up mankind. Forget Jesus and that cross business; read Crocker. It’s also a lot like The Rhythm Is Going to Get You crossed with Lionel Richie’s Hello. At least that’s what my friend James Brubaker said.


How would The New York Times categorize your writing?

Mad ramblings from some hillbilly in Missouri. “My God,” I imagine them saying, “this man writes a lot about red meat.” Or as my friend James Brubaker said, “Get a load of this asshole.”


What was the catalyst that made you start writing?

I honestly can’t remember a time I didn’t write. I loved to read as a kid. It was like crack to me, so I guess it was just a natural extension from that. I can remember the first time I ever wrote something that seemed good and in my own voice. I had recently started reading Bukowski, Ginsberg, cummings, and some other poets, and I had this epiphany that poetry could be anything. So, I just sat down and wrote what I wanted rather than what I thought a poem should be.


Your favorite —

Whisk(e)y: Jameson’s Irish. It’s a bit expensive, so I usually stick to Old Crow.
Wild animal: ’Possum.
Waffle topping: A hamburger.
Poem: “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg.
Scientist or inventor: Richard Feynman.
Broadway musical: Either Cabaret or Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Not sure if Hedwig ever made it to Broadway.
Badass getaway vehicle: Zombie Elephant.
Movie to watch alone: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I always cry when Spock dies and again when Kirk eulogizes him. I don’t want my friends and family seeing that.
Quote: “Get up you son of a bitch! ’Cause Mickey loves ya.”


Tell me about your favorite books or authors.

Way too many to list. I like Tim Seibles, Sherman Alexie, Laura Kasischke, Gerald Locklin … I could go on with hundreds more.


If you could witness or participate in any historical event or time period, what would it be?

The moment the inanimate came to life.


Weapon of choice:

I’ll either be bringing my wit or the thunder of my lightning-quick fists.


The perfect soundtrack to your writing:

Anything by Tom Waits, Willie Nelson, or Bruce Springsteen.


Which literary figure, dead or alive, would you want to —

Take tea with: Since I don’t drink tea, I’ll go with Anne Sexton. She was purty.
Arm wrestle: I think I’d have a chance at beating Emily Dickinson. I hear she was frail.
Ice skate with: Didn’t Tonya Harding write a book? Seriously, I was obsessed with her during the whole knee-whack thing.
Drink under the table: Nate Graziano. It’s pretty easy to do.
Get a blurb from: Oprah.
Beat in a duel of wits: Paul. The guy from the Bible.
Have on your side in the apocalypse: Ishmael Reed. The man is fierce.
Write your next book for you: Anyone. Please.


The one thing in your writing routine you couldn’t live without:

My fingers.


Set the perfect scene for you to write your next masterpiece.

Three months of mental chaos, some mania, and a little bit of luck.


When writing makes you rich, you will …

It won’t make me rich, and I wouldn’t want it to. I mean, my God, could anything be worse?


Interview originally published on 1/17/15