It’s an important social duty to spread the word of English to people whose livelihoods depend on knowing the language.
For most Americans, poetry plays no role in their everyday lives. But also for most Americans, contemporary painting or jazz or sculpture play no role either. I’m not saying poetry is singled out as a special thing to ignore.
We love, you know, children love the ingredients of poetry. And then they go into this tunnel that we call adolescence, and when they come out of it, they hate poetry.
I think what gets a poem going is an initiating line. Sometimes a first line will occur, and it goes nowhere; but other times – and this, I think, is a sense you develop – I can tell that the line wants to continue. If it does, I can feel a sense of momentum – the poem finds a reason for continuing.
I have my Poetry 180 project, which I’ve made my main project. We encourage high schools, because that’s really where, for most people, poetry dies off and gets buried under other adolescent pursuits.
I’m easily frightened, and I’ve also come to realize that old Catholic guilt or remorse is easily stimulated.
Listeners are kind of ambushed… if a poem just happens to be said when they’re listening to the radio. The listener doesn’t have time to deploy what I call their ‘poetry deflector shields’ that were installed in high school – there’s little time to resist the poem.
I’m a nearly uncontrollable Geoff Dyer fan, who I think is one of the most comically brilliant writers today.
Poems are perfect for something to listen to while you’re walking around because they don’t take very long.