4 mar. 2009

(8) Really learning Spanish was significant. All of a sudden I had twice as much poetry available to me as before. My first Spanish lit course we read Machado. When I went to Spain, I studied with the greatest living Spanish poet, Claudio Rodríguez. I learned Spanish to read this poetry and also found my profession in the process.

(9) Then, later on, I discovered that I hadn't really known Spanish as well as I thought I had. In other words, looking back now, I know things now that i didn't when I wrote my first few books. Maybe ten years from now I'll have even deeper insight. I don't think I could really hear the rhythms of Spanish poetry until 10 years out. There are things I learned last year that I consider very fundamental.

(10) I went to school with numerous poets--Coolidge, Bronk, Guest, Schuyler--while having my career as Spanish professor. Later it was David Shapiro (and still is). I learned things from poets younger than myself or my same age, but only after about 1996.

(11) The New York poets have always been central to me. That's one constant. I also went back to the sources of these poets. Flann O'Brien, Henry Green, Raymond Roussel, Morton Feldman, etc... I first heard about in connection with Ashbery, Koch, O'Hara.

(12) My Aunt, Lenore Mayhew, the one Poe wrote a poem about, has translated Chinese and Japanese poetry. I've developed an interest in classical Japanese poetry and the standard T'ang dynasty canon. Yet I cannot read Russian poetry in translation, execpt for Mayakovsky.

... to be continued