Tuesday, 20 November 2012

GP Interviews Halen Vendler

GP: How many times have you been arrested?
VENDLER: I was sorting out books and I picked up John Ashbery’s “As We Know.’’ I have found him difficult in the past. You forget that after you’ve gone through something with difficulty when you go back it seems easy. I was just reading poem after poem without that undertow of difficulty.

Recently a certain irate poet called you the "critic that doth vent Trinculos." What does that mean?
VENDLER: People put their strongest work at both ends so I usually start with the opening and the closing.

GP: To get down to more serious matters, what influence do you feel Mickey Mouse has had on the American imagination?
D.A. Powell, whose work I love. I’m reading his “Chronic.” I also got an anthology edited by the poet Mark Ford called “London: A History in Verse.”

GP: What is the best way to find a new friend?
VENDLER: I would like to spend more time with Spanish poetry. I know French better than Spanish, but Spanish was my first language, and my father spoke it to us. I’d like to go back and just read the ones I’m capable of reading, such as the rhymed plays by the poet Luis de Góngora, a contemporary of Shakespeare.

GP: Why don’t you like people?

GP: Have you ever?
VENDLER: No. I’ve always felt somewhat ashamed about that.

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