I think most people read and re-read the things that they have liked. That's certainly true in my case. I re-read Pound a great deal, I re-read Williams, I re-read Thomas, I re-read the people whom I cam to love when I was at what you might call a formative stage.
The German experience, as you can see, did move me very much. Seeing that terrible destruction and seeing the miserable state of the people, how they had been beaten down by the war through no fault of their own probably.
We do very little re-writing in the office. We often take on people who show great promise and who we hope will develop into somebody important and someone good.
I think that concrete poetry seems to have, as far as I can see, come to a kind of a dead end. It doesn't seem to be going any further than it went in its high period of about five or six years ago.
We see them when they come to New York. They stay at my wife's apartment. We have quite a correspondence with them at all times. They play a very important role, the authors in the firm, because so much of the material we publish is suggested by them.
I think one ages and one dates. I tend to have a good deal of difficulty in liking some of the new poets.
I think there's no excuse for the American poetry reader not knowing a good deal about what is going on in the rest of the world.
It's all well and good to say that Germans were all responsible for the concentration camps, but I don't think they were. I think that was the work of a small group of fiends.
Of course a poem is a two-way street. No poem is any good if it doesn't suggest to the reader things from his own mind and recollection that he will read into it, and will add to what the poet has suggested. But I do think poetry readings are very important.
Concrete poets continue to turn out beautiful things, but to me they're more visual than oral, and they almost really belong on the wall rather than in a book. I haven't the least idea of where poetry is going.
I think that is where poetry reading becomes such an individual thing. I mean I have friend who like poets who just don't say anything to me at all, I mean they seem to me rather ordinary and pedestrian.
I think we will always have the impulse towards visual poetry with us, and I wouldn't agree with Bly that it's a bad thing. It depends on the ability of the individual poet to do it well, and to make a shape which is interesting enough to hold your attention.
We don't attempt to have any theme for a number of the anthology, or to have any particular sequence. We just put in things that we like, and then we try to alternate the prose and the poetry.
I think there is a great difference, in that when the poet is reading you get the whole personality of the person, especially if he's a good reader. Whereas a person just sitting gets what he puts into it.
With me it's the whole thing, it's the conceit, the idea, what the poem is saying. And it goes on just as long as is necessary to say what needs to be said.