Favorite song to dance to? How about to cry to?
“Fantasy” by DyE.
Lately I’ve been crying to “Cellophane” by Twigs.
Describe your personal hell.
I just went there for the first time. It’s called Las Vegas Nevada.
Who or what always makes you laugh?
People chucking small objects unexpectedly and for no reason. There’s a word for it now.
At the moment, Magic: The Gathering. Ben Fama inserted a Tragic Poet card in his new book Death Wish and it inspired me to dig up old decks from my mom’s house to play this summer and now I’m addicted like it’s sixth grade.
What’s a gif or meme that you relate to?
Probably one with a corgi or Moomin. Maybe that one with the guy indicating the butterfly and over the guy it says ME and the butterfly is a corgi and I’m like “is this a MOOMIN?”
What were you like in high school?
Kinda shapeshifty. Restless. I cut all my hair off and moved out of my mom’s house and toured Virginia acting in a play about sexual assault and dating violence prevention. Mostly it felt like I was in an airlock waiting to get blasted out into space and space was New York City.
Most embarrassing Internet username you’ve ever had?
In an AOL sex chatroom I was DicklessBill.
Where do you find inspiration lately?
Where did you write most of your book? Why?
I started it during my MFA at CalArts and filled in the rest over the next few years from my LA apartment and my summer teacher-in-residence idyll. Some of the pieces were written for performance at my Enter>text events, so they’re loaded to architect the present moment. I started writing Glacial Fist in 3rd grade.
What was something surprising you learned while writing this book?
That it was one big story, not just a poetry/essay/fiction collection. [Michael] Seidlinger suggested we not do a table of contents and that’s when the book became a cohesive, hybrid whole.
Describe your struggles and strengths as a writer.
I love reading widely but have to work really hard to not fall into the trap of “should I be writing this kind of thing” and instead stick with my deeper, more idiosyncratic inclinations. That’s when the work carries me. Otherwise I can’t turn off the social media noise. Also I don’t write very much or very often.
Tell us a bit about your writing process. What works and what doesn’t? What doesn’t, but you keep trying it anyway?
Deadlines and page goals work. Uninterrupted time doesn’t. I’m still really bad at all the useful practice things. I liked what Sarah Manguso said in 300 Arguments: “Slowly, slowly, I accumulate sentences. I have no idea what I’m doing until suddenly it reveals itself, almost done.” That’s the dream for me and probably the best I’m gonna be able to do with all my bullshit.
When did you realize you were a writer?
In kindergarten when I chose to improve my storytelling skills instead of my handwriting.
Any suggestions for fellow writers?
Make friends with lots of people outside the literary world; participate in activities and events outside the literary world. Build more varied communities. Drink lots of water. Take your time. Don’t forget to be a human in the horrible world.
Henry Hoke wrote The Book of Endless Sleepovers and the story collection Genevieves, which won the Subito Press prose contest. His work appears in Electric Literature, Hobart, Winter Tangerine, Carve and the Catapult anthology Tiny Crimes. He co-created and directs the performance series Enter>text. Photo of Hoke by Myles Pettengill.