Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Red-Handed Babbling

Johnson doesn’t give us a blow by blow account of the end of that marriage or of the end of his mother’s life; rather he invites us into the emotional landscape of a family’s collapse. The result of this technique is that we are moved along with the poet. He doesn’t dictate to us what he felt; he invites us along for the emotional ride.

-Benjamin Myers discusses four of his favorite titles from NYQ Books


The author of some of the spookiest, darkest songs in the American folk canon seemed jolly on this late-August day. Even if he was accompanied by a reporter, generally not his favorite species of human, the motion soothed him. “I’ve always been better moving than I am standing still,” he said.

-Wonderful feature on Neil Young in New York Times Magazine


Here’s what happened. In 2005 my copyeditor at Harcourt, David Hough, had to subcontract out Workshirts for Madmen to an eighty-five year old woman who lived in New York City. She kept changing sentences like “I only want to dig a hole and sit down in it” to “I want only to dig a hole…” I wrote “Stet” in the margin. She kept changing these sentences, and I kept writing “Stet.” Somewhere along the line she wrote “Do you people in the South not know this rule of grammar?” When she changed it the next time, I wrote “I want only to kill you.”

-George Singleton interviewed by Steve Almond at The Rumpus


Don’t imagine that the art of poetry is any simpler than the art of music, or that you can please the expert before you have spent at least as much effort on the art of verse as the average piano teacher spends on the art of music. Be influenced by as many great artists as you can, but have the decency either to acknowledge the debt outright, or to try to conceal it. Don’t allow ‘influence’ to mean merely that you mop up the particular decorative vocabulary of some one or two poets whom you happen to admire. A Turkish war correspondent was recently caught red-handed babbling in his dispatches of ‘dove-gray’ hills, or else it was ‘pearl-pale,’ I can not remember. Use either no ornament or good ornament.

-'A Few Don'ts by an Imagiste' by Ezra Pound


Sort of obsessed with this right now.