We do very little re-writing in the office. We often take on people who show great promise and who we hope will develop into somebody important and someone good.
Concrete poets continue to turn out beautiful things, but to me they’re more visual than oral, and they almost really belong on the wall rather than in a book. I haven’t the least idea of where poetry is going.
Often something comes in from which you can see that the person is good, the book may not be perfect as it is, and the person doesn’t want to do a re-write. That’s something we do almost nothing of.
I think there is a great difference, in that when the poet is reading you get the whole personality of the person, especially if he’s a good reader. Whereas a person just sitting gets what he puts into it.
I think that is where poetry reading becomes such an individual thing. I mean I have friend who like poets who just don’t say anything to me at all, I mean they seem to me rather ordinary and pedestrian.
With me it’s the whole thing, it’s the conceit, the idea, what the poem is saying. And it goes on just as long as is necessary to say what needs to be said.
I think we will always have the impulse towards visual poetry with us, and I wouldn’t agree with Bly that it’s a bad thing. It depends on the ability of the individual poet to do it well, and to make a shape which is interesting enough to hold your attention.