Who Reads Poetry - Part II
In the previous edition of our "Poetry Venue," we began attempting to answer the question "Aside from poets, who reads poetry." You can read that article beneath the one at hand. Readers have weighed in with the following gems,
We are all poets.
Comment Here on any of the above or below and read the comments of others too.
Log in under "Nickname" or "Anonymous" if you like, but please be sure to sign
some facsimile of your name. Actual name is best, but use what you
like. Or email me at email@example.com.
Excerpts and a Poem From Ted Greenwald (see photo above)
Not being particularly conversant with Ted Greenwald or his work,
I was impressed reading his provocative interview with Arlo Quint
in the Dec.07/Jan 08 issue of the Poetry Project Newsletter.
Here are excerpts from the interview followed by a poem.
"The key is, you know, how ambitious are people? Do you all think that
you're the most important poets who are alive at the moment? Now if you
feel that way then you're gonna have a scene. If you don't feel that
way, if you assume you're just another poet, then you might as well
hang up your cleats right there."
"Sometimes competition is nota half bad thing where you sort of, somewhere in your
head, compete with someone who you think writes really well...But what I'm really
talking about is people whose work you like. You read a nice piece, and
you go home, and you've gotta write a piece. That's the competition."
"I think people get it wrong when they say they're waiting for some bigger
thing. Take what you have and say that it's an important work. I don't
make any distinction between chapbooks and big books because, to me,
when I have twelve pages I make a book of twelve pages. Basically, I'm
modeling it after an LP record--there's 12 cuts. It's a real book.
Everything should be a real book if you're gonna do it at that level.
It shouldn't just be a throwaway where you waste time and energy and
money...everything should be worth something. If you yourself don't
think it's good, how the fuck are other people gonna think it's any
"So let me just go line by line. What that does is...you
don't get into the issue of how to turn the line, so then you get a
whole different other kind of shape happening. Every poet in the world,
once you get to that turn, then it turns proselike in the second line.
That first line is poetry, the second line is always prose if you
continue that particular thought. If you stop the thought and let that
thought go out that way and do another line, another thought or
something...whole other thoughts, whole other lines, and you move along
that way and see where that goes." (Ed's note: Somewhat belied by the
Greenwald poem below)
"I read a lot, but if I'm going to mine
things that I'm reading I'm going to look for things that are 'spoken
nuggets' as it were. I think that the most interesting thing in the
language is the noise. You can't have any communication without it. You
have to have a sense of delivering the work in public. A competitive
"...as people get older, they have a tendency to want to
introduce their own work, which I find tedious. I don't think that work
should be introduced...You lay it out. I don't want to discuss how I
"...it seems to me that you want the work out in front. The work should
be what people look at."
LAST FIVE MINUTES
The long and the short
Of it is
I have to keep pushing
I feel myself
Pushing against the
Lead-in to beauty
And take a hunch through
Ito the halls
Where the everyday
Seems like eternity
There's no fooling around
As it is beautiful
There's no match
For the feeling
That gets there
When I get there
And absolutely no sense
And no telling
How everything turns out
Ted Greenwald was born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens, and has lived in New
York City his entire life. During the course of a career that has
spanned some 30 years, he has been the author of numerous books of
poetry including Two Wrongs (Cuneiform Press), his recently published
collaboration with the artist Hal Saulson.