Sunday, 28 June 2009


A better poet than interviewee, I think.

"Form is a straitjacket in the way that a straitjacket was a straitjacket for Houdini" [The Irish Times, April 19, 2003]. I guess he means that poetry achieves a kind of marvellous escape act from the apparent restrictions of its form, but that's not what he has said. What he has said invites the reply: 'so form ... is a prop, is it?'

"The point of poetry is to be acutely discomforting, to prod and provoke, to poke us in the eye, to punch us in the nose, to knock us off our feet, to take our breath away" [Princeton University Library Chronicle, Spring 1998]. I assume he means that poetry should fuck with our heads, which is quite right; but this emphasis on the unpleasantry of poetry looks lopsided to the point of masochism. Why would I want to hang out with a bully?

"Words want to find chimes with each other, things want to connect" [Interviewed in Thumbscrew, Spring 1996]. Paul? Meet Entropy. Entropy, Paul. I'll leave you two together.

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