Poetry Online

Interview with an Imaginary Interviewer

By Edmund White

  • August 17, 2022
Minimalist illustration in deep blue tones. A man sits alone in an armchair across from an empty couch and potted fern.

Q. What was your best decade?

A. The 80s. I was in my 40s, still presentable, living in Paris, learning French, becoming known as a writer, HIV positive but in good health, writing well.

Q. Best dick you’ve ever had?

A. I still haven’t had yours yet.

Q. Your parents sound as if they were completely crazy. How did you survive? By being gay?

A. Yes.

Q. How many more years will you live? You’re 82 now.

A. Eight.

Q. Does death frighten you?

A. Terrifies me.

Q. What’s the wisest thing you’ve learned?

A. Nothing, I guess.

Q. What’s your best book?

A. I like them all.

Q. Who was the greatest love of your life?

A. Jim Ruddy in the seventies. I cried the most over him. That’s what I do — cry over boys.

Q. Do you miss Paris?

A. No. Most of my friends there are dead.

Q. I have an apartment in Berlin. Why not spend a month there with me?

A. Okay.

Q. How excited does that make you? Percentagewise?

A. Fifty percent.

Q. Why the hesitation?

A. I’m afraid I’d fall in love with you. I’ve cried enough.


Edmund White has written thirty books and taught creative writing at Princeton.