Daniel Mark Epstein, 1980
POETRY MISCELLANY: I'd like to talk first about what seems to me to be a cluster of tensions in your work, the basis for its very ironic character. Your work is characterized by a gesture of inclusiveness: "Like Noah I want to bring everything into the house," you say in "Summer House." But this inclusiveness is achieved in a startling way. At the end of the poem you refer to "the horizon / no man can see without turning his back on it." And you talk about being "a better neighbor to the unknown." Inherent here seems to be a necessity to see things indirectly or askew, to include things by turning from them, which perhaps explains why so many of your characters are excluded from society--misfits, assassins, people missing limbs, various hermetic types. An undercutting occurs here, then--a complex double vision that attempts to include the world, but from odd perspectives. There's an odd way, to refer to one other poem, in which the characters in "The Follies" all touch each other, include each other, radiating out from Mr. Cantini's baritone, yet in which they also remain separate, their perspectives detailed.
DANIEL EPSTEIN: It's amazing to me that you use the phrase "double vision." I have a new poem with me that I wanted to show you called "The Sentry of Portoferrario," and it focuses on a "broken boy" whose eyes "blindly fix upon each other" and who has been "Born lame as an old joke." He's the "sentry" and "keeps his watch high on the falcon fortress" with a