Sunday, March 27, 2011

∞ questions for R...


1)  What do you think a poetry review should do?

A poetry review should aim candidly to express and critique the project towards which someone directs the idea of poetry.  Poetry tends to respond to its own idea of poetry—to an imaginary of what poetry is or does or could be.  (The simplest verbs are the most efficacious/resonant, here.)  To be of use, a poetry review asks how a work or collection of poetry tries to be of use, and in what ways it may or may not succeed.

2)  What makes a poem contemporary for you?

For poetry as for all art there is a paradoxical link between the contemporary and the dated, which is to say that sometimes, the more current a work seems, the more quickly it comes to feel out of fashion.  There is an art to the sustainable contemporary—to an aesthetic contemporaneous with every rereading.  To feel as if it will remain new—this elusive quality makes a poem contemporary.

3)  Who are your late greats?

Dorothy Wordsworth; Anna Akhmatova; Lorine Niedecker.

Catullus; Walt Whitman; Allen Ginsberg.

John Donne; Novalis; Jack Spicer.

Pre-epiphanic T.S. Eliot; Anyone in the 18th or 19th century with the first or middle name “Letitia”; George Oppen pre- & post-silence.

Sappho (not for the sake of super-genre, but because she once appeared in a dream to give me a poem with the word “clock” in it).

4)  Who are some favorite contemporary poets?

Let’s go with girl power: Anne Carson; Bhanu Kapil; Eleni Sikelianos; Jane Hilberry.

5)  How do you like to feel at a poetry reading?

Transported.

6)  Bête noir?

Poems that are far longer or shorter than they need to be; the page as playpen; affected resistance to sentimentality; poems about poetry.

7)  How do you feel about sentimentality?

It has an inverse relationship to itself.

8)  Who are you in the extra-poetic?

Human equivalent of an ampersand.