Dan: Why do you keep calling me?
Nate: Obviously, I have a man-crush on you. Is this the way you treat all your women, asshole?
Dan: Did you know there’s a picture circulating out there in which you have clown ass?
Nate: I am aware of the offending photo, and I agree with the assessment: I do, indeed, have a clown ass in the photo. I’m also a lifelong sufferer of FFS (Fat Face Syndrome). Clown Ass (CA), on top of the FFS, has haunted me on Facebook, my main mode of social interaction. Camus said (as I clear my throat), and I’m paraphrasing here, that the first question a person must answer each morning when they wake up is why not to kill your self today. As a sufferer of both CA and FFS, I have no good answer.
Dan: Could you please explain your perverse fascination with the Grateful Dead? I mean, aren’t you grateful they’re dead?
Nate: What hell is perverse about liking The Dead? I’d be more worried if I listened to, say, Don Henley and The Eagles playing “Take It To The Limit” on repeat for two weeks straight. Now that’s fucked up.
Dan: You’re last book, Teaching Metaphors, was a huge success as far as a book of poetry goes at least. Tell us about your new book. How do they differ? What are you bringing to the table this time.
Nate: I wouldn’t call Teaching Metaphors a “huge success,” even by poetry standards, but I had an audience for it. The book is about my experiences teaching high school, and I was able to appeal to other high school teachers, who may not generally be buyers of poetry books. It was a little gimmicky, but I still really like the collection. My new book, After the Honeymoon, was written during some hard times in my life. It deals with the travails of a bad marriage, parenthood, addiction, and the end of youth. I think I’m most proud of the fact that I was able to laugh at myself and explore these things as honestly and bluntly as I possibly could. I’m standing naked in this collection, and for a guy with Clown Ass, it isn’t always a pretty sight. But it’s honest.
Dan: You never really lived in a Trailer Park did you? Do they have red necks in New Hampshire?
Nate: No, I never lived in trailer park, but they have plenty of them in New Hampshire. In fact, Russell Banks wrote a book of short stories titled Trailer Park, set in New Hampshire. I grew up in a suburb in Rhode Island, but I’ve lived in New Hampshire for the past 16 years, minus a year living in Vegas. There aren’t really “rednecks”—in the Randy Newman song sense—in New Hampshire. There are hicks and wood-boogers. They follow NASCAR, think The Blue-Collar Comedy Tour is the funniest thing since farts in the bathtub, and are ready to throw down when the Ford vs. Chevy debate is brought up, but they’re not really rednecks. They act like rednecks, but they’re not from The South. They were on the winning side of The Civil War, and that’s the big difference.