An Interview With William Stafford Essay Research

  • Просмотров 248
  • Скачиваний 9
  • Размер файла 19

An Interview With William Stafford Essay, Research Paper This interview was conducted on February 6, 1971, at William Stafford’s home in McLean, Virginia, and was published in Crazy Horse 7 (1971). Dave Smith is the interviewer. Dave Smith: Does the poet mythologize his own world in the sense that he makes the things of his world better or worse than they are? William Stafford: If I could think of an image for myself, instead of domesticating the world to me, I’m domesticating myself to the world. I enter that world like water or air . . . everywhere. Mythologizing, yes. I’m writing the myth of the world, not the myth of me. Smith: You go out into the world rather than bring it into you? Stafford: I do go out into it, but in the way of permeating it. As a poet I am

picking it up, though I am not making it into me; rather, I am making me into it. We are just working with images here but I don’t feel as a writer that it is my function to turn experiences into manifestations of myself. Instead, I am like a reporter. I am like the electric eye. Smith: What, then, is the role of "craft" in the writing of poetry? Stafford: It occurs to me as I travel to campuses for readings that many of the people I meet have the feeling that there is a mechanical ability involved in the making of poetry. That, especially among young poets, poetry requires a craft of them that they don’t have. But that isn’t the way that I see poetry. Poetry and prose to me are very close to the same thing. The distinction is not so much in the craft that’s

gone into it but in the way you present it to a reader. If you say something in such a way as to ask a certain amount of attention from the reader, that’s a poem. And if you don’t alert him to its being a poem and let it be prose, well then that’s prose. And prose can be every bit as complex and difficult, it seems to me, as poetry. Smith: Does this say anything about the unsuccessful poet-turned-novelist? Stafford: Well there is something I don’t think we are going to get at in this discussion that makes a difference. There are some very intelligent people who just can’t write a good story. It just takes something else. You have to be possessed or there is something inside you, a story, that writes itself. Smith: Do you think it is disappointing to discover you are

writing about something? Stafford: Yes I do. It is a dangerous thing to want to be a writer and to have to press so hard that in poem after poem, in page after page, you are asserting something, you are pressing to establish something. Instead you have to go venturing along, to be willing to give it up, to give up all kinds of assertions in favor of some inner thing I can’t quite identify here. It is like a development, a pre-development of what you started with. Smith: Do you experience dry periods and read as a kind of cure? Stafford: I have a lot of gusto for reading, yes. I read a lot, and all kinds of things, but not as policy, rather just because I’m addicted to reading. I just like to read. I don’t experience those times when I don’t have anything to write because

I write whatever it is that occurs to me. Some writers experience difficulty that may be because their standards are too high. They feel they can’t write well enough. But I write anyway. I think that activity is important. Smith: Do you think that it is impossible to "go to school" on other poets when you can’t get at something you want? Stafford: I don’t think it is that conscious with me. For one thing I don’t know what I’m trying to achieve. I just write and find out what happens. And, besides, my reading is more in the nature of excited looking around. Smith: Do you read many of the new books of poems? Stafford: Well I read a lot of poems but I do read them fast. So that each time is like a little recognition. Just to see how it goes really. And I neither