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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hass Blew My Mind

I realise the headline looks like a typo (speshly after the overexcited, rather tipsy post of early this evening), however I can assure you its not. The US-based Poetry Foundation website has a feature on Robert Hass, with five poets each introducing their favourite of his poems.

The name Robert Hass might be familiar, as he got a bit of press when visiting here for the Readers & Writers Week during the Intl Arts Festival earlier this year. He has some amazing books of poetry out and was the US Poet Laureate in the mid 1990s, I believe.

This link is a great intro to his writing - and I can tell you from attending some of his readings that he is just the loveliest guy too, so adorable and a soothing SoCal accent. My favourite poem of his is probably actually is a long, strange prose-y piece from Sun Under Wood - you'll have to get the book out, as it needs re-reading and absorbing, its called 'My Mother's Nipples'.

To finish with, I'm gonna include this little snippet i found while googling to try see if there were any stanzas of 'My Mother's Nipples' online [note to self: be careful with googling the words: 'my' 'mothers' 'nipples']. Its come from some kind of interview where members of the public have been allowed to interrogate Hass on whatever they wanted.

I love it because it makes me think of those Q&As you get (I've seen them happen in both film and poetry related events) when some wanker in the crowd just wants to make themselves seem cool and the distinguished guest has almost nothing to do with it.
Also, his answers are even funnier if you know a bit about the kind of poems he writes, or just poetry in general. So yeah, I'm geeking out a little. This whole post is about an Poet Laureate fer goodness sake, what did you expect!?
Susan M. Williams, Nashville, TN:
First, thanks for your poetry. I'm probably taking advantage of the offer to ask "a question" by my request, but having fallen in love with the way you use words, especially your poem, "Meditation at Lagunitas," I'm curious to learn your responses to the Bernard Pivot quiz, made famous by James Lipton of the "Inside The Actor's Studio" show on the Bravo TV channel. So here goes.

Robert Haas, what is your favorite word?
your least favorite word?
What turns you on?
What turns you off?
What sound or noise do you love?
What sound or noise do you hate?
What profession, other than yours, would you like to attempt?
What profession, other than yours, would you not like to participate in?
Finally, if heaven exists, what do you expect to hear God say when you arrive?

Robert Hass:

What is the necessary word?
What are the least sufficient words?
What turns you in?
What turns you out?
What species of New England bog berry do you love, regret in the pulp and the sky ashy?
What animal insolence, what bell of what round in the contest between anguish and delight provokes you?
What feather of the winter cardinal would you like to attempt?
What taxi cab meter, measuring the fare uptown toward coffee con leche or the hurt dance of recalcitrant marionettes would you not like to participate in?
Finally, if poetry exists, what do you expect the grass to say, Susan?

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Blogger Lou said...

Poetry ain't really my area of expertise... in fact my whole knowledge of poetry is that I like Bel's... but his response is awesome.

Wed Nov 29, 02:17:00 AM  
Blogger Tanya said...

Would it be alright to "ditto" Lou's post? It pretty much sums up my view precisely. :D

Wed Nov 29, 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger Bel said...

Heehee you lovely wee petals!

It is such a good 'put in your place' response aye? Because he is taking her seriously somewhat - the first two lines are basically all you need to have in your head when editing poetry.
But there is also such silliness and a tone of condescension in a line like "what do you expect the grass to say"... one part of me thinks its a thinly veiled 'fuck off, honey', another parts sees how it could be heralded as a profound poetic summary.

Aah arty wankers... nothing like 'em :D

Wed Nov 29, 09:04:00 PM  

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