Posted on 24 September 2012
This is the ninth installment in the “Role of the Poet-Critic” series, which includes interviews with Dana Gioia, William Logan, Adam Kirsch, Stephen Burt, Christian Wiman, Timothy Steele, William Jay Smith, and Rachel Hadas. Interviewer’s Note: Joan Houlihan is the author of four books of poetry: The Us (2009), The Mending Worm (2006), Hand-Held [...]
Posted on 03 June 2009
Interviewer’s Note: Born in New York City, Rachel Hadas was educated at Radcliffe College (Classics), The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins (poetry), and Princeton (Comparative Literature), as well as by living on a Greek island for several years in the early 1970’s. Since 1981 she has taught in the English Department of the Newark campus [...]
Posted on 03 December 2008
More than half a century has elapsed since Richard Wilbur, still prolific at 87, won his first Pulitzer Prize. The extraordinary qualities of that statement should be highlighted for readers who claim there are no incontrovertible giants on the American poetry scene. Wilbur’s most recent book, Collected Poems: 1943-2004, has prompted a widespread critical reassessment [...]
Posted on 01 September 2008
“John Berryman took his place, but Berryman soon got into trouble—he got drunk and wrecked his room, and the police threw him out of town.”
Posted on 03 June 2008
William Jay Smith is the author of more than sixty books of poetry, children’s verse, literary criticism, memoirs, translations, and editor of several influential anthologies. From 1968 to 1970 he served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a post now called the Poet Laureate) and two of his twelve collections of poetry [...]
Posted on 01 April 2008
XJK: I like the sound of words and the fun of putting them together. When I first made fumbling attempts to write, I tried writing fiction too. I wrote extensive imitations of Tom Swift and the Hardy Boys, but those projects didn’t get anyplace. Actually, later on I wrote some science fiction for pulp magazines, two fantasy novels for children, and some stories in little magazines.
Posted on 01 October 2007
An Interview with Jon Stallworthy Interview By: Sunil Iyengar Jon Stallworthy’s blood quickened after a poetry reading he gave earlier this year, not because he admired his own recitative powers, but because of something an audience member told him. This man, who turned out to be Stephen Spender’s nephew, had found a sheaf of letters [...]
Posted on 01 July 2007
EH: The architect Frank Lloyd Wright once wrote that “the truth is more important than the facts.” What does this statement mean to you?
ED: Because I readily admit that much of my book is autobiographical, my family likes to quibble about the details of some of the poems. Every time my parents are present for a reading of “Bees in the Attic,” for example, a discussion of the way “it really happened” always follows. Was the hive really right above my bed? Who discovered the noise first? I remind them of the idea of poetic license and we move on. Similarly, when my mom read “DrugFace” the first time, she was concerned, asking about what (again) “really happened.” I gave a similarly evasive answer, something like, “Yes, I used to drive with my eyes closed, but nobody’s ever asked me what’s my sign.” For me, much of the energy of a poem is in the details, but those details aren’t necessarily facts, though they are true to the situation of the poem and true to the feelings it invokes. In that way, all of “DrugFace” is as true, or as factual, to me as the actual night when I drove around Columbus, Ohio inebriated.
Posted on 03 August 2005
Interviewer’s Note: Born in Burlington, Vermont, in 1948, Timothy Steele is the author of several collections of poems: Uncertainties and Rest (Louisiana State University Press, 1979), Sapphics against Anger and Other Poems (Random House, 1986), and The Color Wheel (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994). The first two of these books have been re-issued in [...]
Posted on 01 January 2005
EH: If someone were blindfolded and reached out at random on your bookshelves, what might he come away with?
FW: The New Testament, Neue Gedichte, and the pornographic stories of Apollinaire.