At Home in the Dark: Conversations with Ten American Poets

At Home in the Dark: Conversations with Ten American Poets

by David Elliott (Editor)


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These conversations took place over a sixteen-year period starting in 1984. They were the result of my being involved in the organization of two poetry-reading series, one in the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and one at Keystone College in nearby La Plume. As seasons were planned and upcoming readings approached, I knew there were certain poets with whom I hoped to talk at length, poets whom I was particularly interested in and whose work I wanted to explore with them in conversation. Sometimes it was possible, but more often not, what with the usual routine of events before and after the readings. But it was not until several years had passed that I decided to pursue these conversations with some of the poets at length and more formally for publication. I made the arrangements to set aside the time, and in most cases the conversations took place the day of the readings.

The poets I spoke with were not representative of a single school or style of contemporary American poetry. Similarly, what I wanted to talk about differed from poet to poet. I did not have an overall program, a particular angle I wanted to pursue in all the interviews. Rather, each poet’s work raised specific issues I wanted him or her to discuss, so the conversations vary in focus. However, there were some issues—the musicality of poetry, the process of writing, the relationship between the poetry and the life of the poet—that were discussed by more than one poet. With all of the conversations now collected together in this book, these common issues sometimes create a kind of crosstalk between the poets.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781640425019
Publisher: Keystone College
Publication date: 11/29/2018
Pages: 216
Sales rank: 1,029,701
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.49(d)

About the Author

David Elliott is the author of three books of poetry: Through the Silence, Wind in the Trees, and Passing Through. His poetry has also appeared in several anthologies, including Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years, The Haiku Anthology, Haiku Moment: An Anthology of Contemporary North American Haiku, Got Verse, and Palpable Clock: 25 Years of Mulberry Poets. He is Professor Emeritus at Keystone College in La Plume, Pennsylvania, where he taught Creative Writing, Literature, Composition, and the History of Jazz.

Table of Contents

Preface / ix

I. Language Is the Articulation of Myth / 3

A Conversation with W. S. Merwin

II. At Home in the Dark / 31

A Conversation with William Stafford

III. Tracking the Mind / 57

A Conversation with Robert Creeley

IV. A Struggle Between Silence and Words / 79

A Conversation with David Ray

V. The Surprise of Writing / 91

A Conversation with Robert Morgan

VI. Home Keeps Getting Bigger / 111

A Conversation with Naomi Shihab Nye

VII. Precarious Balances / 123

A Conversation with Stephen Dunn

VIII. Finding a Distinctive Voice / 141

A Conversation with Lucien Stryk

IX. Praise Is a Generative Act / 161

A Conversation with Pattiann Rogers

X. The Complexity of the Human Heart / 179

A Conversation with Marie Howe

Acknowledgments / 195

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