Host(s): Stan Sanvel Rubin
Tape order number: V-1397
Visit Date: February 13, 1997
Brief Summary: Dunn talks about the challenge of writing about "happiness," which he characterizes as the great delusion of Americans. He wants to distinguish himself from middle class American poets who, he says, sometimes focus on a kind of suffering that is not authentic or true to their experience as a whole. Dunn says he began writing out of a sense of disconnection, a realization that others did not share his experience of the world. He describes the movement of his writing from the surreal image-driven spare poetry of his early years toward forms that allow more "talk," more abstraction, and more direct discussion of idea. He acknowledges the influence of dialectical thinking and the role of persona in his work. He hopes to write for a "new tribe" of readers who share fragmented lives and fragmentary concerns.
If we serve in any way, one of the ways we serve is to articulate that which is there, not what is impossible or fabulous, that which is there but not easily seen.
-- Stephen Dunn