I didn’t know how obsessed I was with the world – with the actual word world – until I went through my last book of poems and saw that I used the word at least 30 times. Actually, another poet told me I used it 30 times but of course I went back and counted the words myself (because they were my words) to see if this was true. I’d never done anything like that – count how many times a word got used. I wonder if other poets do this?
But beauty is still important, isn’t it? It seems to me and other fairly intelligent people in America, that we are living in a time when the failure to describe the time we are living in is truly mystifying. So, please bear with me—I will get to today’s reason for all of us being here, but I don’t know what to say to you today that somehow hasn’t come out of outrage and disbelief—outrage and disbelief at the fact that one of the last bastions of seemingly liberal thought—the fourth estate—has normalized an aberration.
As soon as
you find your voice, you’ve lost it
I didn’t know how obsessed I was with the world – with the actual word “world” – until I went through my second book of poems and saw that I used the word at least 30 times. Actually, another poet told me I used it 30 times but of course I went back and counted the words myself (because they were my words) to see if this was true. I’d never done anything like that – count how many times a word got used. I wonder if other poets do this?
Goddard MFAW faculty Michael Klein: The beautiful writer, John Berger, who died a day into the New Year once said to the living: “hope is not a form of guarantee; it’s a form of energy, and very frequently that energy is strongest in circumstances that are very dark.” For all of you, I wish radical hope.
Goddard MFAW faculty Michael Klein: Apparently, E.L. Doctorow once taught a course that only had one book on the syllabus. The class read the one book and decided from there what the next book should be. If it was Jane Eyre, somebody might then suggest The Wide Sargasso Sea, which was a prequel and written by another writer at a completely different time. Perhaps, reading both books would give a person a rounder sense of the world created by both sets of characters.
My best poetry teacher ever was a poet named Jack Myers who titled a book, As Long As You’re Happy. Pete Seeger once said, “there’s no such thing as a wrong note, as long as you’re singing.” When Pete Seeger died,
“The Heart is Not a Metaphor”, Robert Gober’s retrospective at MOMA ended on January 18th, which makes me happy I saw it but unhappy for those who missed it. Gober works in various mediums—installations being, of course, the most enveloping