I’m wary of making grandiose claims for poetry. (Would that it were, that anything were, a unifying force!) Poets have always loved to talk about how powerful and important poetry is, and I’m no exception. Poetry’s power to fuse the private and the universal always amazes me, as does its ability to offer a reprieve (as you aptly phrase it) from the mundanity and suffering of day-to-day existence. But poetry’s role is more complicated than that. Poetry is often made of mundanity and suffering; if it excludes or flees them, it risks being empty, generic, sentimental. Each poet has to manage their own balancing act, whether in formal or thematic terms, or both, between the mundane and the visionary, the public and the private — one could add so many pairs. A complicating factor is that poets come with their own talents and temperaments, their own obsessions and models, their own reading and experience.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
… An Interview with Rachel Hadas [by Aspen Matis] - The Best American Poetry. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)