[Wgcp-whc] This Friday, Keith Waldrop visit

Richard Deming richard.deming at yale.edu
Sun Jan 24 17:07:57 EST 2010

Dear All,

just a reminder that Keith Waldrop (recent winner of the National Book  
Award for Poetry) will be joining us this Friday from 3-5 in Rm 116 of  
the Whitney Humanities Center.  As is our usual procedure, a group of  
questions draw from our previous session (and subsequent emails to me)  
has been sent to Waldrop.  I'll paste these below.  These questions  
will merely serve as prompts to help shape our conversation.
I'll also provide again the links to two different interviews with  

This one is an Mp3

And here is a bit of an interview conducted by Peter Gizzi:


R. Deming, Group Co-coordinator

At the end of an interview with Peter Gizzi, you write: "In one sense,  
the words of the poem belong to the poem. In another sense, they  
belong to the language the poem is written in and to the world that  
language is part of. There is no mystical substance behind the words.  
There is no key, since there is no lock. And there is no psychological  
state behind it, because when the poem is done, the poet is dead."  In  
what sense is the poet "dead"?  Are you suggesting that every discrete  
poem in a sense is the activity of a different aspect of the poet?   
And so when the poem is done, that aspect no longer exists?  And do  
you mean when a poem is completed?  Or does "done" mean something like  
being emptied of mystery (earlier in the interview you express  
wariness of saying what poems mean).

In one of your responses to Olivier Brossard, you indicated that verse  
is easier for you to write in prose. In what way are they different  
processes for you? Why is verse easier and how so? What distinguishes  
verse and prose (besides lineation, of course).

You're famous for your prodigious library. In what ways does your  
reading shape your work and your thinking about poetry? This is  
particularly relevant in that professor Brossard suggested that  
Transcendental Studies offers a lesson on reading, that they comment  
on the process of reading and meaning making.  As he put it, your work  
wrestles with the central and problematic question of “How do I say  
‘I’?”  Moreover, since that book deals so much with collage, it seems  
that there does seem to be commenting on the process of reading and  
how it shapes the possibilities of composition and form.

Given that the process of collage was so important in the generation  
of the poems of Transcendental Studies, do you feel that knowing that  
genesis is necessary to reading the poems? What is gained or lost in  
foregrounding process? Or are the collaged materials that you shaped  
into this new text meant to point to themselves?  Or is this a way  
that the source books "haunt" the new context? Do you think of these  
in terms of translation in that you are bringing lines and sentences  
into a new context?

In what ways has translation, informed your own poetry?

How has your sense of form evolved or changed over the years? In what  
ways is it different?  What has remained constant?

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