—THE POETRY OF WITNESS
ALL JOURNEYS ARE WISE—when viewed with enough time and distance. Looking back on life's passages, the wrong turns, chance meetings, even dead end streets can assume a place in a clear and purposeful progression. It's in the day-to-day navigation that an individual's inner compass and determination are tested. And for an artist, the sum of those daily choices, both mundane and monumental, leaves an indelible mark on the character of the individual and the content of the creation.
Entering the middle passage of her life, poet Carolyn Forché has received more acclaim and notoriety, witnessed more instances of cold brutality and generosity of spirit than one might expect in several lifetimes. In March of 1994, The Angel of History was published, the first new collection of her work after thirteen years of silence. Shortly before that time, I met with the poet and her husband, the photojournalist Harry Mattison, at their Maryland home. The two-hour interview I'd arranged somehow expanded into an