November 11, 2011

levine on upbeat poems

"I can’t believe this guy Barr is a poet, because I don’t think a real poet would think in that way. When a poem comes to you, you’re not going to say, 'Oh, no, this goddamned poem is just too mean-spirited.' You’re going to run with it."

philip levine (Detroit, MI, 1928), answering the question "I wonder if you agree with John Barr, the president of the Poetry Foundation, who, with the help of a $200 million endowment, has been trying to popularize poetry by encouraging poets to write more upbeat poems" in an interview published in The New York Times Sunday Magazine with the headline Philip Levine Still Knows How to Make Trouble, November 6, 2011