I don’t remember where or when I first encountered Daniel Nester and his work. But I do recall taking special interest when he announced that his sestina anthology project had found a publisher, and I knew that this book would be one I’d want to share with all of you.
Daniel Nester is the author of HOW TO BE INAPPROPRIATE and GOD SAVE MY QUEEN I and II. His writing has appeared in N+1, THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE MORNING NEWS, THE DAILY BEAST, THE BEST AMERICAN POETRY, THE BEST CREATIVE NONFICTION, THIRD RAIL: THE POETRY OF ROCK AND ROLL, and NOW WRITE! NONFICTION. He teaches writing at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y.
Please welcome Daniel Nester!
Erika Dreifus (ED): Your introduction to THE INCREDIBLE SESTINA ANTHOLOGY begins this way: “First things first. You’re asking: Why in the world should I read a book of sestinas?” I’ll paraphrase for my own first question: “Why in the world did you compile a book of sestinas?” And, on a related note: *How* did the book develop?
Daniel Nester (DN): I suppose my reflexive reply to the first question would be “why not?” A more serious one would be “because no one’s done it before,” by which I mean no one has put together a collection of sestinas in English, in the time of the great sestina revival-renaissance of the 20th century onward. There are collections of sonnets, villanelles, haiku; why not the sestina? As I say in the introduction, one of the reasons I remain fascinated by the sestina is that so many different poets from different schools and aesthetic backgrounds and impulses feel the need to try on the sestina form. It’s a democratic form in the best sense of the word.