People who publish poetry today do it from a sense that poetry needs to be published, not because they think they are going to make money.
Many other cultures value poetry more than we do. In Ireland, poetry is a top cultural pursuit, the art to end all arts.
I like each of my books to be different. Once I've done something I like to move on and push myself to learn new things and expand the limits of poetic form.
A poem employs both the sound and the sense of language, it treats words not just as signifiers but as a plastic medium of artistic expression.
Traditionally poetry is written in lines. But the prose poem is the kind of poem that isn't written in lines. It is lyrical prose that uses the tricks of poetry, such as dense imagery. This is a big topic of debate in poetry land. There's no perfect definition.
Poetry resonates differently in each culture; it doesn't in America.
People say modernism killed poetry for them: it doesn't rhyme, it doesn't touch a popular musical oral tradition. Years ago, you memorized and read poetry; it was one of the things you were forced to learn. Now it has tiny role in school.
Our lives are so dominated by financial concerns - paying the rent - and consumer choices - what sort of detergent to buy at Costco - that larger issues get subsumed into economic ones. Not just social justice, but basic issues of faith and meaning.
I tend to write poetry that is rich in data of various sorts. The lyric poem isn't perfectly suited to accommodating such data, so I've had to find new ways to say everything that I want to say.
The culture stays alive, but certain parts of it die or fail, and that's very interesting to me.
Poems are language turned into art; sound and sense matter; they can be as long or longer than The Odyssey or as short or shorter than a haiku. Not very helpful.
All of the arts are kin - music and sculpture and dance, those are wordless art forms. But poetry is defined by language. Of course, each art is distinct, and has its own character - not just in terms of media, but in terms of what seems to lie at the heart of it.
The shape that poems make in the mind is an echo of something powerful in the cosmos. I do believe that, and that is certainly irrational, so perhaps I am no wiser than Elizabeth Perkins as to the nature of poetry.
It's not surprising to me that books ended up playing a central role in my life, but it is somewhat mysterious that poetry did.
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