Monday, August 10, 2009

“A memory of anticipation”

What should young or emerging poets be doing that you don’t see them engaged in at present?

The basic mesmeric quality of poetry is rhythm. And rhythm means memory. I don’t think a lot of young writers write for memory.

Do you mean that they don’t write so they will be remembered?

No. The thing about a poem when it’s good is that you can feel as if you know it as you read it. So there is a memory of anticipation that is confirmed by the poem. And I think a couple of generations have been lost through a kind of anarchic attitude to meter that tells the young poet to “go ahead” because they might have an interesting personality, etc. etc.

-- Derek Walcott, interviewed in the August 2009 issue of The Wolf.

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