Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Verse Book of Interviews: 27 Poets on Language, Craft, and Culture

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

The Verse Book of Interviews: 27 Poets on Language, Craft, and Culture

Article excerpt

The Verse Book of Interviews: 27 Poets on Language, Craft, and Culture, edited by Brian Henry and Andrew Zawacki. Verse Press, August 2005. $16

Many of us have read these interviews in Verse magazine, and now we can enjoy them and give them to others in book form. In addition, many of the interviews in this book are new, never before published in Verse magazine. For those unfamiliar with the Verse interviews, this book is wide-ranging in many ways. These substantial interviews with poets of many different countries, ages, and aesthetics are always in-depth and shy away from the "where do you write and how" questions that lead to banal and boring interviews.

From talking about the joy of memorizing poems: "it's wonderful to memorize poetry. . . . It's a pleasurable thing, and especially if it is fostered in the home" (August Kleinzahler), to frustration with the canon: "I had the canon pointed at me. I got Ezra Pounded" (Martin Espada), to poetry as pleasure: "I don't care so much about being understood now, but I want to give pleasure" (Medbh McGuckian), and "poetry has to be able to give pleasure before it's understood; that's why you want to understand it" (Reginald Shepherd); from praise for difficult poetry: "Why should everything be immediately accessible? …

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