TEN QUESTIONS FOR POETS ON POETRY
Below are the ten questions that formed the basis of this ten-part series, in which we fearlessly exploited the poetry-related experience of others more steeped than we are in such experience. Warmest, most heartfelt thanks to the generous poets (their names with links to their answers appear below) who have made this series into a true intellectual odyssey for me, and I hope for others. I feel I’m in a completely new place with regard to each of the ten questions, thanks to the one hundred thoughtful and meaty answers they have shared. I’m digesting all their wisdom slowly and will be posting some of my own humble thoughts on each of the questions over the coming weeks. If anyone else would like to have a go at the ten questions on their own blog, please do so and send me a link!
Answers to the Ten Questions (I)
1. Rob Mackenzie 7 Dec 2006
2. Scavella, 12 Dec 2006
3. Julie Carter, 19 Dec 2006
4. Sarah Sloat, 26 Dec 2006
5. Tony Williams, 2 Jan 2007
6. Greg Perry, 9 Jan 2007
7. Steven Schroeder, 16 Jan 2007
8. Howard Miller, 23 Jan 2007
9. Paul Stevens, 30 Jan 2007
10. Katy Evans-Bush, 6 Feb 2007
11. C.E. Chaffin 9 March 2007
12. Ron Silliman, 8 May 2008
The Ten Questions (I)
1. In this 2003 interview, Canadian poet George Bowering quotes Shelley: “The poet is the unacknowledged legislator of the world.” Do you think the poet has a specific role to play in human affairs in this century? If so, what is it?
2. Talk about the importance of poetry workshops to you as a poet – now and in your earlier development. Do you differentiate between in-person and on-line workshops?
3. Comment on this passage by former U.S. poet laureate Donald Hall in his 1983 essay Poetry and Ambition: “Horace, when he wrote the Ars Poetica, recommended that poets keep their poems home for ten years; don’t let them go, don’t publish them until you have kept them around for ten years: by that time, they ought to stop moving on you; by that time, you ought to have them right. [...] When Pope wrote An Essay on Criticism seventeen hundred years after Horace, he cut the waiting time in half, suggesting that poets keep their poems for five years before publication. [...] By this time, I would be grateful – and published poetry would be better – if people kept their poems home for eighteen months.”
4. Comment on this passage from Why Poetry Criticism Sucks, an article by Kristin Prevallet in the April 2000 issue of Jacket magazine: “It is very difficult to write poetry criticism and not have poets feel personally maimed [...]. For some reason poetry criticism does not advance the formal, intellectual, or contextual parameters of poetry. It always gets confused with the personal.”
5. Do you have an internet presence? If so, describe it and comment on the state of the poetry blogsphere. If not, why not?
6. To what degree have you been published and to what degree has that helped or hindered your development as a poet?
7. Comment on today’s huge numbers of on-line poetry publications.
8. Self-publishing has become inexpensive and relatively painless. What are your thoughts on self-publishing?
9. What do you see as the biggest opportunity facing a poet today, as compared to 50 years ago?
10. What do you see as the biggest challenge to a poet today, as compared to 50 years ago?