Jack Gilbert

Here’s an Paris Review interview with Jack Gilbert who wrote “The Abandoned Valley,” which I posted a few days ago. It’s a pretty lovely conversation about life and love and poetry from a poet who’s life as an artist hasn’t been particularly influenced by his relationship to the literary establishment.


The hard part for me is to find the poem—a poem that matters. To find what the poem knows that’s special. I may think of writing about the same thing that everyone does, but I really like to write a poem that hasn’t been written. And I don’t mean its shape. I want to experience or discover ways of feeling that are fresh. I love it when I have perceived something fresh about being human and being happy.

Ezra Pound said “make it new.” The great tragedy of that saying is he left out the essential word. It should be make it importantly new. So much of the time people are just aiming for novelty, surprise. I like to think that I’ve understood, that I’ve learned about something that matters—what the world should be, what life should be.

Language, violence and rape.

At work last week I checked npr.org for the news, as I often do, and the headline story was about the gang rape of an eleven year old girl in Texas. I didn’t read the article, because I knew how much it would have upset me to do so. Today I read an article by Roxane Gay titled “The Careless Language of Sexual Violence” which I found via Bookslut’s blog. I think the article is so right about so many things, which is totally terrifying. While writing my thesis, I explored a lot of theory and criticism about writing on violence, particularly war. The representation of violence, war and rape in fiction and non-fiction–and in (and through) language in general–is something which deeply concerns and interests me in my (admittedly limited) capacities as a thinker and a writer, and (in a less limited capacity) a human being. I hope it concerns you too.

Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People

One of my favorite books to browse through this month has been Amy Sedaris’ Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People.

Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People

Every time I open it I end up laughing. I particularly enjoyed the section on fake wounds. But really the reason I’m mentioning this book here is that I just read this 5 question interview with Amy about the book, and this was one of the questions:

What’s one supply no crafter should ever be without?

Ha! So so true, Amy. Thank you.

Like her brother, she’s pretty funny. Here she is, talking a bit about the book: