The lyric poem advances by layers of imagery

New Poet Laureate: ‘The Meaning Has Always Stayed The Same’
June 12, 2014

The Library of Congress announced Thursday that the nation’s next poet laureate will be Charles Wright, a retired professor at the University of Virginia.
“I’m very honored and flattered to be picked, but also somewhat confused,” the poet told The New York Times. “I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do. But as soon as I find out, I’ll do it.”

“Thinking about things” has been fruitful for Wright, who’s won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for his poems, which often center on faith and nature.

He will pick up the position from current poet laureate Natasha Trethewey in the fall. In the meantime, he tells Block about the bad fiction he wrote in his youth and how spirituality has consistently informed his poems.

I first started reading it seriously when I was in the Army, in Verona, Italy, and I was 23 years old, which is very late for a poet — most poets start about the age of 3, I’ve come to find out. And they have a whole stack of poems that they wrote before kindergarten. But that was not my case.

I did try to write stories in college, because I was interested in writing, and I was interested in the sound of language, but I was just no good at narrative and at fiction. When I discovered the lyric poem, that advanced not by narrative steps but by blocks and layers of imagery, I said, “Gee, I probably could do that. So let me try that.”

sources of insipiration: the idea of the music of language



Bugs Bunny is my muse

When Does Creativity Start And End?  
May 25, 2012

Preferring lyrical simplicity to abstruse intellectualism, Collins combines humility and depth of perception, undercutting light and digestible topics with dark and sometimes biting humor.

In 2001 Collins was named U.S. poet laureate, a title he kept until 2003.
Collins lives in Somers, NY, and is an English professor at City University of New York

[Collins] I’m a total cartoon junkie since childhood.
I think more influential than Emily Dickenson or Coleridge or Wordsworth on my imagination, were Warner Bros., Merry Melodies and Loony Tunes cartoons.
Bugs Bunny is my muse.

About Tiffany Adams
Tiffany Adams, the young poet at the beginning of this piece, is a student at Ballou Senior High School in Washington, DC. She gave her reading at 826DC, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center. The organization published a poetry collection containing work by Adams and other students from the center.