A radio message from the Andromeda galaxy, over a million light years away, is picked up by a radio telescope, and turns out to be the blueprints and assembly instructions for an alien supercomputer. When the supercomputer is turned on, it builds a beautiful woman, whose mind is partly alien. There was a sequel, about a second Andromeda computer being assembled in South America, with pretty much the same production team, but with Susan Hampshire replacing Julie Christie.
My original conception was a short anthology of poems to live by. I saw a special on PBS introducing poems for children and it struck me that there may be a correlative for adults.
So I suggested to my editor that perhaps I might curate a short anthology of poems that does just that—speak to a larger constituency and attempt to show how certain poems are made up of and are about everyday living.
My focus was not on the theory or making of the art itself, or the writing of the art, but more an appreciation through my own subjective lens. I collected the poems and wrote short headnotes and an introduction and turned it in to my editor. And his response in essence shaped the idea for this book.
I knew exactly what he meant. Why are these poems important to you? I stepped back and began to think about when I encountered a particular poem and what it meant to me and means to me now, and I found that telling my own stories gave me access to do this.
And then the form found its voice. Or the voice found its form. I wrote into my own experience, narrating pivotal moments in my own life to show how certain poems—written through the ages, from poets who have led completely different lives—still can capture a moment, emotion, or experience while using language that is unique to poetry.
How about you, Matthew—what was your original conception for Why Poetry?
Did you have a particular audience in mind? I wanted to try to directly engage with the typical questions and anxieties so many people have about poetry. When I found myself in those situations, instead of turning away, or getting frustrated, I started to talk more with people, to ask them lots of questions, to try to get to the deeper reasons for these feelings about poetry.
Eventually, these conversations led me to consider genre: What does it do that is different from prose? Why does it feel so necessary and also so elusive? Is it possible to talk about these things in simple, direct, language, to get to the essence of poetry, without leaving something vital out, or destroying the experience?
These were some of the questions I was asking during the writing of the book. I tried to write it for anyone: I feel like my audience is curious people who have any interest at all in literature, or art, or experiences that are beyond the purely functional. Our books combine personal experience with an impulse to dig into poetry in a way that is careful and close, without becoming purely academic.
What did you feel like you learned, about poetry and about yourself as a poet, when you were writing your book? I love what you say about considering the genre, the purpose of poetry as a distinct act in the world. It is the compression and use of language the craft as it were and the channeling of actual experience, of lived life, that give it universal power.
What did I learn while writing the book?
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A number of things. I began to see how significant poems can be, and how important it has been through the ages to have poets chart their own experiences. I discovered, in fact, that poetry may indeed have saved my life from a less interesting one had I not discovered it, and it gave me a path forward.
The immersive pleasures of poetry have shaped who I am and what I do. And in writing this book I was able to recall those poems that in a sense led me forward or became deeply ingrained in my thinking and imagination.
When was the moment you knew that poetry was essential in your own life and what were some of the poems that awakened you? I was telling someone the other day that writing this book was like getting a Ph.
D in poetry, except without the benefit of a dissertation advisor.Jun 11, · brah prodigy got like solo joints out including mixtape shits dre has NONE and when i think of P, i think of duo outkast is first mobb deep is 2nd.
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I'm happy with the book. It offers an insightful perspective that I learned to really appreciate. My understanding about physics was greatly enhanced by the combined knowledge of Frankel book and the book "Geometrical methods of mathematical physics" by Schultz.
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I had the opportunity to spend 3 full days there - out of 4, the duration of the Show - and being kind of short of time, I decided to structure my days around a particular topic.