Thursday, May 3, 2012

Some Advice

(initial notes from "The Verse Book of Interviews: 27 Poets on Language, Craft & Culture," ed. by Brian Henry & Andrew Zawacki)

August Kleinzahler 


"You can encourage them in habits of mind, methods of execution. You can give them exercises to familiarize them with different ways of writing so that they have those arrows in their quiver. You can even suggest techniques whereby they can learn to edit themselves... I do try to suggest that poetry has its resistances, as any other medium does. And they have to learn about the form by reading and practicing and... sailing on open water."

"It would be useful to have MFA students discuss contemporary authors and write critical essays about them, poring over their work, making arguments, and considering different models and standards."

"If I want more flow or a sense of indeterminacy, I suppose, or to enhance the possibility of relationships between a word at the end of one line and the words that begin the next--if punctuation will impede some of those possibilities, I'll omit it. If the nature of the poem involves very clear stage instructions for how it should be read, I'll punctuate it."

Christine Hume

"I try to keep the sound going, to see how many sounds can keep it going and opening up to the possibilities beyond my first impulses. Into the alchemy of slippage, cryptography, transumption, metalepsis, rhyme, echo--incarnational phrases that bring together sounds (and their ideas) that have been loning to be together. And resonate mistake. When you draw energy from error, mistakes become revitalizing."

"Because there's no tabula rasa in language--every word has a past, it has many faces, and traces and futures--I tend to delight (perhaps too much) in its resonances."

"Reading that expects a high level of readerly interaction and a trust in the process of reading, a willingness to listen to the way language sounds without 'irritable reaching after' meaning and an openness to discovering dimensions beyond conventional boundaries, this kind of reading requires an active patience and curiosity that our culture discourages."

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