Marc Rahe reads at Prairie Lights

Marc Rahe's second collection of poetry, On Hours, came out in 2015 from Iowa City publisher, Rescue Press. -- photo courtesy of Rescue Press
Marc Rahe’s second collection of poetry, On Hours, is published by Iowa City’s Rescue Press. — photo courtesy of Rescue Press

Poetry reading by Marc Rahe and Danny Khalastchi

Prairie Lights — Tuesday, April 21 at 7 p.m.

Iowa City writer Marc Rahe will read from his new collection of poetry, On Hours, on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Prairie Lights. His debut collection of poems, The Smaller Half, (Rescue Press, 2010) demonstrated a staccatoed spectrum, from darkness to high-pitched humor. In On Hours (Rescue Press, 2015), readers find Marc’s depth continues to delight, as does his exploration of the human experience — odd, awkward and wonderful as it may be.

Rahe received his M.F.A. in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and his poems have appeared in Gutcult, iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, jubilat, notnostrums, Painted Bride Quarterly, Petri Press, Sixth Finch and other literary journals. Little Village recently spoke to Rahe about On Hours and his writing process.

Congratulations on your new collection. Poets are often inspired by observation or through the desire to make a statement about the world. What would you say drives your creative process?

I’m sure I make more observations than statements about the world, though of course I do both in my poems. I probably make fewer statements about the world because my understanding of the world feels quite limited and fragmented. I don’t really know where the creative drive comes from. I think it’s a pleasure, like making a joke. A thing of language that occurs in time, with surprises.

Do you have a particular style or form you follow?

I tend to write short, free verse poems. Within a poem, I’ll have repetitions and structures, but from poem to poem, these will be different.

Is there a unifying theme?

There are recurring subjects — the body, loss, longing, isolation, solace, the grave (of course) — but a unifying theme? One of my instructors just called it The Marc Rahe Experience. But without, you know, the ambient music and laser show.

Rescue Press is local to Iowa City. What are the benefits of working with a local publisher?

The Rescue Press editors and staff are very hands-on. It’s been great to be able to sit down with Danny Khalastchi at the Motley Cow and go over notes, and to meet with Sevy Perez at the Times Club about the book design, rather than just communicating by phone or email. And being in the same town has allowed me to be available for many Rescue Press events over the years. It’s been an ongoing, supportive relationship since they published The Smaller Half in 2010.

How is the overall experience of being a poet in Iowa City?

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There is so much to appreciate about the environment in Iowa City. It’s certainly a place where it’s easy to have good conversation with smart people about books.

What’s next for you?

I’m traveling a bit to help promote On Hours. I don’t travel very often, so I’m looking forward to that adventure, and to meeting people and reconnecting with some friends.

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