Tweeting Poetic: In Conversation with The Astro Poets

Tweeting Poetic: In Conversation with The Astro Poets

Twitter's premier poet astrologers blend literary references, pop culture, and the stars.

Twitter's premier poet astrologers blend literary references, pop culture, and the stars.

Text: E.R. Pulgar

The latest incarnation of mystics for the modern age comes in the form of two pop-culture savvy poets—an Aries and a Sagittarius—brandishing a viral Twitter account.The fateful meeting of Dorothea Lasky and Alex Dimitriov, better known to their 251,000 followers as the Astro Poets, in a Brooklyn loft in 2010 has given rise to a collaboration that Dimitriov called "a spiritual marriage" in the duo's recent profile in The New York Times. The idea to write tweet-length poems about the signs has evolved into a witty new astrology, one that compares the signs to everything from emojis to Walt Whitman verses and that fostered a dedicated audience that waits, every Sunday, to read their horoscopes. It's pressure, sure, but for poets with their eyes on the stars it's just another part of the job.

The Astro Poets spoke to V about the pressures of weekly predictions, where they get their literary and astral inspirations, and how the rest of us can find magic (and poetry) in our everyday lives.

How did you two meet, and did you preemptively know you would become a sort of mystical, poetic dynamic duo?

Alex Dimitrov: I definitely have always known we would do something wild and mystical together. There’s some people that you meet and forget about, and some people that you keep on seeing, and others that you’re just fiercely connected to. The latter’s true here.

Dorothea Lasky: We met at a party and we were both excited that we were Aries-Sagittarius, which is about as compatible a match as you can get. I don't think I knew we would be a mystical, poetic dynamic duo one day, but I did know that we were destined to have a lot of fun together.

Since your Twitter feed has gone viral, do you feel the pressures of the eyes of the world waiting for your Sunday predictions?

Alex Dimitrov: I have to say, I don’t really feel any pressure. We started this account out of our love for poetry and our belief in magic and astrology. That’s still what we’re doing, we’ve retained that spirit. At times, my Twitter feed becomes very homogenous and everyone is regurgitating the same panic and inducing more fear. I’m not very interested in that, unless important discourse is coming out of it. But for the most part, it’s really performative and often self-serving.

Dorothea Lasky: I definitely feel this immense pressure every Sunday! Especially when we've posted only 3-4 signs and the signs farther down in the zodiac, like Capricorn or Aquarius, start getting impatient, wanting to know their fortunes. Since we've started, I've been scared that something might come up on a Sunday and we'd need to skip a week of horoscopes, because I know people depend on us to start their weeks. It is actually a fair amount of stress to come through, but I'm proud to say we always do.

Magickal practices—astrology, in particular—have weaved themselves into the modern scene by way of poets like Ariana Reines, C.A. Conrad, and yourselves. How does your poetic expression meld into your predictions, and vice versa?

Alex Dimitrov: My poems tend to be very serious, and it’s nice to have an outlet for my sense of humor on Astro Poets. Not that I haven’t coded it into some poems, but largely, it’s not something you see in my verse. We both have talked about having a TV show, and especially after our NYPL event, where it just became obvious that we sort of have one in us.

Dorothea Lasky: I think that being a poet has prepared me greatly to write horoscopes, since it has taught me the art of the riddle. I have worked for many years to hone my voice into that of a trickster, and it's fun to use this voice for something other than a poem.

What do you both draw upon when it comes to poetic inspiration and creative work? Is there any particular theme or inspiration you go back to?

Alex Dimitrov: Whatever I’m reading at the time, really. Lately it’s been a lot of nerdy science books because the new poems I’m writing are thinking a lot about space and the planets and our place among it all. Cinema is always an inspiration—Godard and Antonioni’s films were huge muses for me early on as a poet. I just reread, and in some cases read for the first time, most of Tennessee Williams’s plays.

Dorothea Lasky: I am very much a frustrated visual artist and actress. When writing my poems, I tend to draw inspiration from the energy of the visual world, both in what might be termed high art or beautiful everyday objects, and bring how I feel about what I can see into my poems. I also use the space of the poem as a type of performance space, one where I love to take on rhetoric much in the way an actress might try on a new character. I love the emotional vibrancy that happens when someone says something they both deeply mean and do not mean at all; I try as much as I can to bring this into my poems.

Aside from your forthcoming Astro Poets book, do you have individual poetry collections in the works at the moment?

Alex Dimitrov: Yeah, my second book of poems, Together and by Ourselves, came out last year from Copper Canyon Press. I just finished a third book of poems and I’m working on a novel, which hopefully I’ll finish too!

Dorothea Lasky: My fifth book of poems, Milk, will be out from Wave Books this upcoming Spring, 2018.

How can people see the poetry and magic in everyday life—aside from your Twitter feed, of course.

Alex Dimitrov: People should limit how much time they spend online, honestly. Follow the few things that give you something back and recharge you, and hopefully our Twitter feed is one of them, but—and I say this from a creative mindset—being online can be very toxic and it can kill your buzz. Every time I’ve been in the finishing stages of a book I’ve unplugged. I don’t mind doing our Twitter because that’s actually creative for me and a boost. But interacting online now has become one big panic attack. I hope our Twitter is funny and fun and lifts people up. I don’t want to add to the panic and fear or the really easy pessimism and snark. That’s so boring.

Dorothea Lasky: What I am about to say is a bunch of clichés, but it's also true. To see poetry and magic everywhere all you have to do is live. Live! Do what you want and what makes you happy and say fuck you to anyone or anything that attempts to steal your joy or tells you it's silly to care. Care! That caring will come back to you in amazing ways and will keep you on your true path. Life is a poem. It really is.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

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