Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lunch pail poetry

RATTLE has just released its RATTLE e.7 supplement to the summer print issue, and you can download it here in pdf format:

The highlight is an interview with Bruce Cohen on his new book from Dream Horse Press, Disloyal Yo-Yo. I was impressed with Cohen's take on the place of writing in his life, and he touched on a theme close to my heart: how to balance work, life, poetry. For some, poetry as a career works just fine, and for others (me!) it does not. Cohen says, "I intuitively suspected that if my career were dependent upon poetry, my poetry might get stale and suffer." From someone who now has two books out after long years of work, and lots of balancing, that's encouraging stuff. He talks about his "anti-poetic career" in academic support programs for athletes, and how he was grounded in the knowledge that poetry was its own center: "I knew I would compose poems for my entire life; it would be a constant in my world. That knowledge calmed me, left me less anxious."

He talks about balancing his career, his wife's career, different work schedules, raising two boys and all the Boy Scouts and other activities that adds to the mix, and still finding room for poetry.

Here's Cohen on what it takes to be a writer: "But my approach to writing is not lazy; it’s blue collar, working man. I write something every day whether I feel like it or not and put my time in. I go to work sick. I’m rarely inspired and I have no patience for waiting for some sort of Muse. In fact, I don’t think I have a Muse, I just try to talk to people in my poems who I know and want to talk to. My father got up at five every morning, went to work and never complained. I try to do that—especially with my poetry. Lunch pail stuff."

1 comment:

Jackie Fox said...

Thank you so much for this post. Like you, I'm trying to balance all this stuff, so I read Cohen's Rattle interview with great interest. And what made it even better was that his poems are excellent. Domestic Surrealism II is amazing. I wouldn't expect a poem about guys getting into a fight in traffic to stay with me, but I keep seeing his image of "cartoon tweeties" swirling "around your stupid head." Wow.