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The Writers Forum at SUNY Brockport

Donald Justice -- Poet

Host(s): Gregory Fitzgerald and William Heyen

Tape order number: VF-16-1

Visit Date: March 5, 1970

Length: 30 minutes

Published as:

  • "Falling Into Place: A Conversation with Donald Justice." Ed. Phillip L. Gerber. Prairie Schooner 47.4 (Winter 1974): 317-24.
  • "An Interview with Gregory Fitzgerald and William Heyen." Platonic Scripts. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1984. 23-27, [Portion of 1970 interview.]

Brief Summary: Justice is concerned with the form of poetry and says that the forms he uses often make themselves up as he writes. He strives for an impersonal voice, and seeks unity within individual poems more than in collections of poems. Justice notices a resurgence of political themes and morality in the poetry of the late 1960s, and says that the ethos of the poet naturally becomes part of a poem through the images chosen.

Work(s) Discussed:

  • "To the Hawks"
  • Summer Anniversaries
  • Night Light

Work(s) Read:

  • "Here in Katmandu"
  • "The Assassination"
  • "The Tourist from Syracuse"

Writers mentioned:

  • W. D. Snodgrass
  • Robert Bly
  • W. S. Merwin
  • Pablo Neruda
  • John Cage
  • Cynthia McDonald

I restrain myself somewhat when writing . . . One of the means I try to use to do so is to leave things out, not to say certain things . . .

-- Donald Justice

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