Monday, May 4, 2015

Monday Muse: Poets on Poetry

Below you'll find a new edition of Poets on Poetry, which highlights interviews or feature articles in which poets speak about poetry as vocation, ways that poetry differs from other kinds of writing or from recitation, and the meaning of poetry in their lives. I've also included some wonderful advice from author Andrew Solomon, a fascinating piece by critic Daniel Mendelsohn on Sappho, and a critical examination of Diane Wakowski.

✦ ". . . Both spiritually and morally a writer renews his or her imagination by renewing a sense of responsibility for the world. . . None of us writes alone. . . ." ~ David Biespiel

Quoted from David Biespiel's excellent essay "A New Turning", republished as "Fate of the Writer: Shuttling Between Solitude and Engagement" at The Rumpus, April 21, 2015. Also included are Rigoberto Gonzalez's essay "The Activist Role of the Writer", Lia Purpura's essay "On Utility", and Wendy Willis's essay "The Perfume of Resistance", delivered at the 2015 AWP conference in Minneapolis. All are worth bookmarking.

✦ ". . . We should not have to argue that creativity improves the quality of life, . . . The joy of creativity should be part of every day. It's part of what makes us human. It improves everything." ~ Tony Hoagland

Quoted from Bob Keyes's article "A Rallying Cry for Poetry", The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, March 29, 2015.

Hoagland's collections include Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty: Poems (Graywolf Press, 2010)

✦ "At some unnoticed moment, I began to understand that a life is written in indelible ink. . . Poetry, though, is a door that only continues to open. . . ." ~ Jane Hirshfield

Quoted from Anisse Gross's wonderful "Interview with Poet Jane Hirshfield" at SF Gate, March 11, 2015.

Hirshfield's most recently published books are The Beauty: Poems (Knopf) and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World (Knopf).

Read or listen to Jane Hirshfield's interview with Elizabeth Austen: "Jane Hirshfield on Turning To Poetry In Grief", KUOW, April 8, 2015.

✦ "Find your own goals within each poem. Leave the audience thinking of your message, traveling on the poem's journey along with you." ~ Anita Norman, 2014 Poetry Out Loud National Champion

Quoted from Anita Norman's excellent article "How to Recite a Poem" at the NEA's Art Works Blog, March 10, 2015.

✦ "Part of what happens when you're a poet is that you get more interested in . . . how a patterning of events and a patterning of language relate, as opposed to big dramatic transformations. . . ." ~ Ben Lerner

Quoted from "'There could be that glimmer of collectivity'" at Berfrois, February 18, 2015. (This feature is excerpted from Karl Smith's "Time Is a Flat Circle: Ben Lerner Interviewed" at The Quietus in which Lerner, a poet and novelist, talks about his novel 10:04 and how poetry and novel writing differ.)

✦ ". . . The use of language gets taught at M.F.A. programs nationwide. The use of experience is far more elusive. . . Experience poses the questions we are asked to live, and our writing is the mere shadow of an answer. . . Try not to let your words outstrip your experience. . . ." ~ Andrew Solomon

Quoted from "The Middle of Things: Advice for Young Writers" at The New Yorker, March 11, 2015. (Although Solomon is not a poet, this beautifully written essay contains advice every writer and poet should consider and apply. The excerpt is from Solomon's speech at the March 5 Whiting Writers Awards program.)

✦ ". . . What Sappho really was was a singer-songwriter. Like Joni Mitchell or Bob Dylan, she wrote her music as well as her lyrics, and performed her songs in public. . . ." ~ Daniel Medelsohn

Quoted from Daniel Mendelsohn's "Hearing Sappho" at The New Yorker, March 12, 2015.

Mendelsohn's C.P. Cavafy: Complete Poems was published in 2009.

✦ "Recently rereading much of Diane Wakoski's long career, I was impressed by how very much the poet is who she always is. Which isn't to say she grows dull or less interesting with time, but she's not bending with trend. . . ."  Lynn Melnick

Quoted from Lynn Melnick's "I Would Have to Wake Up Young Again: On 'Bay of Angels', Personal Mythology, and the Enduring Badassery of Diane Wakoski", a long and worthwhile read in Los Angeles Review of Books, March 10, 2015.

Poet Lynn Melnick published her first full-length collection If I Should Say I Have Hope (YesYes Books) in 2012. She is co-editor, with Brett Fletcher Lauer, of Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation (Viking, 2015).

No comments: