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The Writers Forum at SUNY Brockport

Robert Bly -- Poet

Host(s): Gregory Fitzgerald and William Heyen

Tape order number: C-414

Visit Date: March 17, 1970

Length: 30 minutes

Published as:

  • "Argument about 'Universal' versus 'Political' Art." Edited by Robert Bly. In Talking All Morning 78-82. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press, 1980 (portion of 1970 interview).
  • "The Masculine versus the Feminine in Poetry" Robert Bly Ed. In Talking All Morning, 207-212. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press, 1980 (an additional portion of 1970 interview)

Brief Summary: Bly talks about the temporality of poetry, and the Buddhist philosophy of embracing the present. Americans, he says, are obsessed with the past and the future, and thus are too concerned with aesthetic distance and with writing for posterity. Bly also talks about the need to balance masculine and feminine consciousness, and sees the growing individual spirituality in the counterculture as evidence of a shift away from the brutality of masculinity.

Work(s) Discussed:

  • Magazine: The Seventies
  • Prose Poems: The Morning Glory

Work(s) Read:

  • "Counting Small Boned Bodies"
  • "The Busy Man Speaks"

Writers mentioned:

  • G. Kinnell
  • R. River
  • A. Tennyson
  • J. Keats
  • R. Duncan
  • D. Levertov
  • A. Ginsberg
  • W.C. Williams
  • W. Whitman
  • R.W. Emerson
  • C. Shapiro
  • J.F. Nims
  • P. Neruda
  • T.S. Eliot
  • E. Pound
  • A. Koestler
  • G. Lorca
  • E. Thomas

What we have to learn is that you forget about the future -- you're writing for the people who are alive at your time and you try to move them as much as you can.

-- Robert Bly

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