Monday, April 26, 2010

April is National Poetry Month

and I have not observed it.  I’m not sure why.  I like poetry.  But I just haven’t been tempted by poetry this month.

So, instead of a poem I’ll share this interview that the Yale Daily News did with poet Louise Glück.  Glück teaches two classes at Yale:  “Introduction to Verse Writing” and “Advanced Verse Writing”.   I haven’t read her latest work but I’ve read some of her earlier works and really liked them.

I’ll just share one part:

Q: How has being a teacher affected your life and your work?

A: It’s affected it profoundly, and as far as I can tell, entirely positively. When I was young, it seemed to me that [by teaching] I was presuming to confer what I did not possess. I also thought it was a distraction from my “sacred calling.” In my late 20s I found myself in the first of what would turn out to be many periods of prolonged silence. In that time, I did a reading at Goddard College. They suggested I come for a semester and teach. I was wary of teaching because I hadn’t myself completed college and because I feared that teaching would involve spending energies that should have been directed into my own work. But at the time I had no work. I had an epiphany: “I’m not going to turn out to be an artist. My dearest wish for myself will not be granted. And I’m going to have to figure out something better than secretarial work.” So I moved to Vermont four days before the semester started and took a room at a rooming house, and as soon as I started to teach, I started to write. The degree to which I learn from my students is almost impossible to communicate. I have never felt any conflict between teaching and writing. For me, they’re necessary companions.

It’s not a long interview but well worth reading.

Oh, and she doesn’t like National Poetry Month.

Oh heck, I won’t give you a whole poem of hers, but I’ll give you a sliver of one:


On Sundays I walk my neighbor’s dog

so she can go to church to pray for her sick mother.

The dog waits for me in the doorway. Summer and winter

we walk the same road, early morning, at the base of the escarpment.

Sometimes the dog gets away from me—for a moment or two,

I can’t see him behind some trees. He’s very proud of this,

this trick he brings out occasionally, and gives up again

as a favor to me—


I encourage you to read the whole thing.