Poet Jim Harrison Is Not a Nature Writer and Other Observations

Wild Duck Review posted an interview with Jim Harrison in which he further demonstrates that he’s a cranky, independent, and opinionated thinker–and we love him for it.  (It’s actually an old–1997–interview, but it’s new to me.)

Choice excerpts:

On nature writing:

“I don’t much care for the term, nature writing.”

On Robinson Jeffers:

“The trouble comes with a full elitism—the kind Robinson Jeffers was guilty of—the view that says, “I alone overlook the rock and the Pacific.” It’s the “I alone” that is on a family allowance for thirty-five years, surveys nature, and then loathes human beings. ”

On poets, I guess:

” It’s feeble-minded to think of being right as an artist. Being right is about as fragile a thing possible in the world. The duty of the poet is not to shit out of the mouth like a politician. Poets should be out there on the borderland saying this kind of thing.”

Check out the rest of the interview here.

Also, here’s my brief interview with Jane Hirschfield on nature writing.

Poetry Reading Q & As

Over at the Potomac Review blog there’s a great post about the etiquette for Q & A sessions following poetry readings. I usually like Q & A sessions better than the open reading sessions following a reading, if the questions are good. Sometimes they’re not, and this post explains a few ways they can go badly.

To that list of don’ts I’d add one more: don’t use your question as a way to show off how much you know (or think you know) about the poet or poetry. Ask a question. Don’t make a speech. Read the Potomac Review post here.

And here are some more of my own thoughts on poetry readings.