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The Writers Forum at SUNY Brockport

Hayden Carruth -- Poet

Host(s): Stan Sanvel Rubin and David Polizzi

Tape order number: V-51

Visit Date: April 14, 1983

Length: 30 minutes

Published as:

  • "A Conversation with Hayden Carruth." Earl Ingersoll and Stan Sanvel Rubin, Eds. Silverfish Review 16(1989):24-31

Brief Summary: Carruth speaks of how too much exposure to a particular theme or topic anesthetizes the reader, and he says the challenge for poets is to find ways to revive the importance of such topics. He says young poets need to learn to work through traditional forms and they need a sense of the tradition in which they are working. Technique, he asserts, must become assimilated to the point that the poet can use it spontaneously and creatively, improvising as a painter or a jazz musician. Carruth also talks about the sociology of literature and the way poetry seems to exist outside the broader culture, extruded, encapsulated and apart in something of a parasitic relationship to the whole. He believes poets should be fully integrated members of the community, their poems giving a permanent shape and structure to metaphysical experience and thereby serving a sort of historical function.

Work(s) Discussed:

  • "The Sleeping Beauty"

Work(s) Read:

  • "Essay"
  • "Section 105" of The Sleeping Beauty

Writers mentioned:

  • Anthony Hecht
  • Alexander Pope
  • William Black
  • Plato
  • Homer
  • Hesiod
  • Shakespeare
  • Ezra Pound
  • Hilda Morley
  • Robert Duncan
  • Robert Creely
  • T.S. Eliot
  • Robinson Jeffers
  • W.H. Auden

Until you can use a brush as well as Cezanne, you can't think the ideas that Cezanne thought.

-- Hayden Carruth

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