For his contemporary reviewers, who set the tone of his reception, he never quite escaped his association with Greenwich Village post-Decadence. Most users should sign in with their email address. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above. Don't already have an Oxford Academic account? Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.
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Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Correspondence to Francesca Bratton, Durham University.
Hart Crane's Poetry: "Appollinaire lived in Paris, I live in Cleveland, Ohio"
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Permissions Icon Permissions. Issue Section:. You do not currently have access to this article. But interviews seem to be on the rise. BCF: So what do you think a good interview with a poet should try to do or accomplish?
Little pre-thinking goes into my interviewing, strategy-wise, that is, especially concerning any conscious choice on how to emphasize or hide the construction of spontaneous, squirrel-flowing speech. Ask what you really want to know. Keep it simple. Edit away the indelicacies and awkwardness, nearly always my own, at some later stage.
Most of the interviews, I should mention, were done live—in person or on the phone. I love the ritual of speaking, and find my clumsiness, which is pronounced, the verbal charge and riot of how my brain motors and contours my spontaneous speech to be trustworthy. Prose on the other hand I find mildly terrifying—that is, sitting down to compose instrumental, lucid, well-combed, non-poetic sentences. Reviewing forces me to say insightful, concentrated things, often not sufficiently up to that task.
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It should welcome digression and court the off-topic, resist the sound-bite, obviously, and redeem received-thinking: those ruts of thought-association we really waste most of our lives trapped re-tracing. For me, I try to make it a conversation: spontaneous, probing, deferring focus onto the interviewee. A later stage then comes in: the clean up—ideas cool off, get pared down, excised, negotiated invisibly, tidied, corrected, shrunk to their brightest parts.
I know for instance when I interviewed John Ashbery about his Rimbaud translation, I was in the middle of the interview and teetering into that familiar dead-end of trying to pin John down in the meaning-game. And here I was falling for a trap I know he hates, I hate, and has been done! So when he answered a question about not being interested in confusing poetry and autobiography, a bias I share and understand the dignity behind, I threw myself a curve-ball by following that up by asking him if he ever made that very mistake as a reader.
What followed in his answer was a marvelous peak into his subjectivity, for a second, via his experience of reading Raymond Roussel—something that in changing him, ended up changing American letters of the last half-century.
In fact, if anything, though they should be entertained once in a while, like a delirious fever that gives you its succulent, lazy bed-high, they have to be avoided. Of course hermetic, formalist poetry is punctured by the reality and banality of day-to-day life, and as readers, we entertain all kinds of motives, even those in diametric opposition to our supposed or actual philosophies as artists. BCF: Thanks for this. AJF: If you were to characterize the two or three prevailing poetic modes of your generation as you see it, what would they be, and what are their strengths and weaknesses?
The old aesthetic divides have collapsed, as they always eventually do, though they linger on in subtle and dormant ways, sometimes reinforcing newer, more furtive, temporarily resilient strains. What excites me about all the modes I will very, all-too-briefly sketch below.
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Sometimes, I think so. I should say, I know so, because I feel a kindred demon inspiration in my own practice. I have no idea what either Reines or Lasky think of this notion of culture, the poem as quaint masterpiece, but their quite contrasting inheritances from Mayer, as I see it, boils down to taking the logic of voice, of poetic self, quite seriously.
Mimicry, yes, but persona, no. Lastly, I see a huge shift in my generation towards the poem as opening onto other genres, multimedia, the incorporation of the internet, the insertion of the visual. Mark So, who is a composer, properly speaking, but is in my mind as much a poet and performance artist as anything else.
This order of operations has been scrambled, and opens beyond literature; so many poets today see their models or chief influences as not necessarily being dead poets.
Barbara Claire Freeman interviews Adam Fitzgerald – OmniVerse
Writing becomes a performance, an event, an artwork, a t-shirt, etc. There are no good wars, there are only heroic or contemptible discrete choices within them. That is, even a poem, words broken into lineation on a page, remains radical, and will survive, not in spite of this or that e-technology, or more radically adaptive artistic practices and processes, but because, you know, writing a poem all by yourself can still be one of the most radically dynamic things a human being can do.
BCF: Adam, thanks and thanks! Nor should it be promotional, a review, a summary. But let me violate all my own banal prejudices against padding or supplementing and offer this. Behind the Scenes This poem was the last to be written and added into my first book. The title, as is often the case, occurred to me out of the blue, first, and sought out a poem to go with it.
I often find the beginning of the poem is instantaneous, inevitable, unalterable, on a good day. I stalled on the third stanza, and had to rewrite it many, many times. For instance: My vocabulary inside poems has always been tremendously more eclectic, sophisticated and ridiculous than my prose, or my conversational everyday English. Finally, the poem—and I love shepherds, idylls, pastorals, all the ancient landscapes filled with homoerotic lyricism that poetry allows for—is actually written as a sort of prayer to a real shepherd, someone I correspond with almost daily on Facebook, who lives in a war-torn country on the other side of the world.
I remember him sending me a picture once of him driving in his jeep on the mountains, having to honk his horn to navigate the traffic of one of his flocks. Who cares if the reader thinks about any of these things.