Sunday, March 6, 2011


Stunning interview with Adrienne Rich online at The Paris Review.

Read poetry, ye Americans. It may save you:

"Maybe some North American ears have trouble with poetry because of the noise from an aggressively voiced ruling ethos—its terminology of war, success, national security, winning and losing, ownership, merchandising, canned information, canned laughter. Poetry can be direct, it can be colloquial, it can be abrupt or angry, but it’s not that vacuous noise; it wants to unseat that kind of language, play other kinds of sound tracks."

On the "obligations" of poetry (and perhaps a dig at some contemporary work):

"I don’t know that poetry itself has any universal or unique obligations. It’s a great ongoing human activity of making, over different times, under different circumstances. For a poet, in this time we call “ours,” in this whirlpool of disinformation and manufactured distraction? Not to fake it, not to practice a false innocence, not pull the shades down on what’s happening next door or across town. Not to settle for shallow formulas or lazy nihilism or stifling self-reference."

I have decided to spend the rest of my life trying to get to a place where I have a fraction of the intellect that this woman has.

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