Talk Poetry


Poems and Interviews with Nine American Poets
David Baker
978-1-55728-981-0 (paper)
March 2012


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What is more direct and intimate than one-to-one conversation? Here two forces in American poetry, the Kenyon Review and the University of Arkansas Press, bring together discussions between one of America’s leading poets and editors, David Baker, and nine of the most exciting poets of our day. The poets, who represent a wide array of vocations and aesthetic positions, open up about their writing processes, their reading and education, their hopes for and discontents with the contemporary scene, and much more, treating readers to a view of the range and capacity of contemporary American poetry.

David Baker is author or editor of fourteen books of poetry and criticism. He holds the Thomas B. Fordham Chair at Denison University, teaches regularly in the Warren Wilson College MFA program, and is the poetry editor of the Kenyon Review.

“David Baker has brought together in this remarkable volume some of the most probing and revelatory interviews he has conducted for our pages—interviews that plunge quickly beyond the trivial to the deep concerns, the personal insights, the creative sparks that can ignite in conversation with these marvelous poets.”
—David Lynn, editor of the Kenyon Review
“With his incisive and instructive questions, David Baker is able to draw out responses that touch upon not only the lives and poetic craft of his subjects, but also upon the nature of art and the life of poetry itself. This is without question a must-have volume for everyone who loves American poetry.”
—David St. John, author of Auroras: New Poems
“David Baker, a consummate poet, is also one of our most intelligent, open-minded and readable critics. In this book, at once a personal anthology and a collection of perceptive, lively interviews, he gives readers a sense of the scope of American poetry today, with a keen eye for its convergences as well as its dissents.”
—Marilyn Hacker, author of Names: Poems

Linda Gregerson
“Over Easy”
So I Go to Words: A Conversation with Linda Gregerson
Fady Joudah
“Still Life”
“Twice a River”
Poems by Mahmoud Darwish
“If I Were Another”
“At a Train Station That Fell Off the Map”
Past the Centrality of Suffering: A Conversation with Fady Joudah
Ted Kooser
“Splitting an Order”
“Bad News”
“Spanish Lessons”
“Two Men on an Errand”
Something Just Happens: A Conversation with Ted Kooser
W. S. Merwin
“From the Gray Legends”
“Before Midsummer above the River Again”
“By the Front Door”
Leave the Door Open: A Conversation with W. S. Merwin
Alice Notley
“When You Arrived”
“Attila the Gypsy Shakes Her Cup”
“Hotel Truth Room”
“To Frank”
“We Have to Know How to Make the New One”
Evident Being: A Conversation with Alice Notley
Meghan O’Rourke
“Winter Palace”
“The Lost Sister”
“Peep Show”
“Sandy Hook”
“War Lullaby”
That Sensation of Privilege and Loss: A Conversation with Meghan O’Rourke
Carl Phillips
“Almost Tenderly”
“Tell Me a Story”
“Next Stop, Arcadia”
“The Life You Save”
Wrestling toward a Temporary Answer: A Conversation with Carl Phillips
Stanley Plumly
“Posthumous Keats”
“Constable’s Clouds for Keats”
Excerpt from “This Mortal Body,” Posthumous Keats
Living through It: A Conversation with Stanley Plumly
Arthur Sze
“After a New Moon”
“Returning to Northern New Mexico after a Trip to Asia”
“Spectral Line”
Demolishing Hierarchy: A Conversation with Arthur Sze

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