Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
pictures of strange stick figures who got blown up.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
cracked crates and smashed pears
are all I think about. Rid of them.
An apple epidemic, I'd said before,
would be unethical
at the very best
and a way to get worms inside physicians everywhere
at the very worst. I thrown all of them out. Am rid them.
Farmers continue fitfully to exist;
they grow great sadness on stalks
and mutated salt-licks.
you say, profanely, I maunder:
Saturday, March 12, 2011
I crawl to the edge of my bed
and glance down with some
displeasure at my flabby belly,
my cavity-colored teeth
I smile at the bruise on my neck, the Parthenon
of creased sullied & wrinkled sheets
drunk with the smell of you last night.
and our year wears itself well, will become years
and rest in the repose of years with mornings
that are not this morning. This wake,
this vigil is a ritual I've repeated
many times, a sacrament
of last night's beer and a desire to let work slide,
a craving for Jim Morrison's Other Side.
In my bathroom, the mirror sucks.
Ain't exactly a bevy of complements.
Naked in the window of my living room
on this side of my third-floor glass
I think of you, of slapping
your pretty ass. Soon, you'll slap mine.
make their way, nowhere, fast.
is listening to you sing. The morning moves
Well, that covers scholarship. How about teaching? Does teaching only get in the way of your work as a poet?
It depends on the kind of teaching you do. If you teach creative writing, you get absolutely nothing out of it. Or English—what are you teaching? People you read twenty years ago. Maybe you pick up a little if you keep on preparing, but very few people keep on preparing. Everybody is lazy, and poets, in addition to being lazy, have another activity which is very demanding, so they tend to slight their teaching. But I give courses in the history of civilization, and when I first began teaching here I nearly went crazy. I was teaching Christian origins and the Middle Ages, and I had certain weak spots. I was OK with The Divine Comedyand certain other things, but I had an awful time of it. I worked it out once, and it took me nine hours to prepare a fifty-minute lecture. I have learned much more from giving these lecture courses than I ever learned at Columbia or Cambridge. It has forced me out into areas where I wouldn't otherwise have been, and since I am a scholar, these things are connected. I make myself acquainted with the scholarship.
Suppose I'm lecturing on Augustine. My Latin is very rusty, but I'll pay a certain amount of attention to the Latin text in the Loeb edition, with the English across the page. Then I'll visit the library and consult five or six old and recent works on St. Augustine, who is a particular interest of mine, anyway. Now all that becomes part of your equipment for poetry, even for lyric poetry. The Bradstreet poem is a very learned poem. There is a lot of theology in it, there is a lot of theology in The Dream Songs. Anything is useful to a poet. Take observation of nature, of which I have absolutely none. It makes possible a world of moral observation for Frost or Hopkins. So scholarship and teaching are directly useful to my activity as a writer.
(This interview, done by Peter A. Stitt, appeared in the winter 1972 issue of The Paris Review, which can be read here.)