THE CRAFT OF POETRY: Interviews from the New York Quarterly by William -- Ed. Packard

THE CRAFT OF POETRY: Interviews from the New York Quarterly

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The New York Quarterly interview team is single-mindedly prosodic. Whether talking to Auden, Sexton, Ginsberg, Ashbery, Levertov, Dickey, Creeley or Mac Low, they stick to the same framework: Typewriter or longhand? Do you revise? What about workshops? Writing blocks? Do you play word games? (In our opinion, the silliest question of all.) Who are your influences? Is the age too permissive in terms of discipline? Naturally some of the poets manage to break away from the routine into long rambling monologues about their work, their feelings, their lives -- the ""opinions. . . footnotes. . . plain gossip"" editor Packard deplores in his introduction (""We live in the age of the interview. . .""). Howard Moss makes the point with great patience during his interrogation about his physical working habits: "". . . it's really what a poem does behind that craft that really counts. . . craft [is] secondary to art."" The pen-or-pencil, morning-or-evening approach may have an appeal for the tyro practitioner but there's a quantum leap from technique to creativity -- and these questions never seem to inspire that energetic response. Despite the intriguing pantheon of subjects -- feminist, ""confessional,"" New York school, Black Mountain, chance processes, Beat, as well as traditional -- there's nothing new or inspiring here, nothing to suggest the resurgence of American poetry with its enormous vitality, freedom and humanism.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Doubleday