Host(s): Stan Sanvel Rubin and A. Poulin, Jr.
Tape order number: V-228
Visit Date: February 20, 1985
Length: 47 minutes
Brief Summary: After paying tribute to Frederick Douglass's work and the force of his autobiography, Harper talks about the titles of his books. In so doing, he reveals the themes and ideas that gave rise to each collection. Harper speaks of his identification with jazz but also suggests that this influence on his work has been overemphasized by critics. He argues that limits of language make translation between jazz and poetry difficult. The common point between the two forms may be the sense of voice and expression. Harper says his reason for writing is "to activate," to make something, to put together and compose and give shape.
The responsibility of the nightmare is to wake up.
-- Michael Harper