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July 31, 2006

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Crag Hill
Frank: I sense that we agree. I'd say some of the most vigorous work in the last twenty-five years, e.g. Hejinian's My Life, Silliman's Tjanting, Perelman's Primer, Cathy Wagner's Macular Holes, Ange Mlinko's first book Matinees, Harryette Mullen's Muse & Drudge ... are political texts, if covert. This has been an issue that's dogged me for thirty years, wanting a work on the job and on the page that not only conveys but changes life... I remember a conversation I had as a young man with Allen Ginsberg in Stevens Point, WI, 1978, about how much politics to put in a poem. Though I think the politics of some of his poems are dated, alas, I still love his answer, something like, "Let the poem dictate how much politics come in." In other words, the poem first. I can live with that. Best, Crag
Frank Sauce
This idea you expose continues to hold my attention. Should an american writer/poet attempt to be a significant voice in politics, a la "A Poet in the World" of Levertov, or write without the intention of addressing politics? One can substitute "religion" for "politics" in the paragraph above. Intention should match the form which should frame the content. However, personally, I want writing/poetry that conveys life, so politics and religion should have a role in our work, but not the whole role. Namaste, Frank Sauce

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