Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thanks to a link from Todd Swift's Eyewear blog I've just watched a wonderful interview with W.S. Merwin. I bought Merwin's latest collection The Shadow of Sirius the other year after reading this most gorgeous poem of his in the New Yorker.  In the programme Merwin says that Pound advised him to write 75 lines of poetry everyday and went on to say that Merwin, being so young at the time, wouldn't have anything to write about therefore he should learn a language and translate!

Some quotes from Merwin:
"poetry rises out of what we don't know"
"a theme that runs through all poetry and language is a feeling of loss"
"grief...is the beginning of language"
"poetry begins by hearing, listening"
"the background of words...is the nourishing dark...that is always with us"


I heartily recommend the programme,  it's 52 minutes long and available to watch here.

8 comments:

Elizabeth Rimmer said...

I love those quotes. Merwin is a poet who has always escaped me so far - I might have to re-think that notion!

Marion said...

he reads a few of his poems in the programme so it's worth listening to. I think I'd like to eventually purchase all of his works.

Rachel Fox said...

Grief...I should be onto a bumper batch soon then...
x

Marion said...

oh rachel, hope things are okay xx

Michelle said...

Wonderful quotes, Marion. Thank you for this.

James Owens said...

I'll watch this video. Thank you for pointing us to it.

Merwin is, in a way, one of the last direct links to those great Modernists like Pound. Am I right in thinking that he was a tutor for Robert Graves's children?

I don't know his poetry as well as I should, but I saw him a couple of years ago in Chicago and it was like listening to some mystic who has returned from 20 years in the desert -- ancient and wise and serious, and giving the sense of a life truly lived well in poetry.

Marion said...

you're welcome, michelle!

I didn't know that, james, he tutored Graves' son apparently!
he comes across as a genuinely lovely man in the interview, wise yet understated.

Frances said...

I can engage with the 'feeling of loss' line. Thanks for the intro to Merwin - I shall have to seriously investigate this chap.