Seven American Poets in Conversation

 

Introduction by Christopher Ricks


480 pp, ISBN 978-1-903291-16-0 (paperback only), £10.99
US Publication, April 2008
UK Publication, June 2008

Post-free for on-line credit/debit card orders


I wish to order this book

 


 

A note about Seven American Poets in Conversation

A 480 page volume, gathering together seven of the interviews BTL has conducted with American poets since its founding in 1998. The poets featured are John Ashbery, Donald Hall, Anthony Hecht, Donald Justice, Charles Simic, W. D. Snodgrass, and Richard Wilbur, each of whom talks at length about his work and his life. An informative, entertaining, candid and occasionally surprising panopticon of a book.




 

A note on John Ashbery

John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927, and was educated at Deerfield Academy, Massachusetts and at Harvard and Columbia.
   He is the author of numerous books of poetry, amongst them A Worldly Country (2007); Where Shall I Wander (2005); Chinese Whispers (2002); As Umbrellas Follow Rain (2001), Your Name Here (2000); Girls on the Run: A Poem (1999); Wakefulness (1998); Can You Hear, Bird (1995); And the Stars Were Shining (1994); Hotel Lautréamont (1992); Flow Chart (1991); April Galleons (1987); A Wave (1984), which won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Shadow Train (1981); As We Know (1979); Houseboat Days (1977); Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975), which received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award; The Vermont Notebook (1975), Three Poems (1972), The Double Dream of Spring (1970); Fragment (1969); Rivers and Mountains (1966); The Tennis Court Oath (1962); and Some Trees (1956), which was selected by W. H. Auden for the Yale Younger Poets Series.
   Ashbery is also the author of Other Traditions, revised versions of the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures he gave In 1989 and 1990 (2000); Three Plays (1978); and A Nest of Ninnies, a novel co-written with James Schuyler (1969). He also edited The Best American Poetry 1988. A gathering of his prose pieces was published as John Ashbery: Selected Prose (2004), and a selection of his art reviews was published as Reported Sightings (1989).
   Ashbery has received numerous honours, awards and prizes, a partial list of which would include (In addition to those already mentioned) two Ingram Merrill Foundation grants (1962, 1972), Poetry magazine’s Harriet Monroe Poetry Award (1963) and Union League Civic and Arts Foundation Prize (1966), two Guggenheim fellowships (1967, 1973), two National Endowment for the Arts publication awards (1969, 1970), the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Award (1973), Poetry magazine’s Levinson Prize (1977), a National Endowment for the Arts Composer/Librettist grant (with Elliott Carter) (1978), a Rockefeller Foundation grant for playwriting (1979-1980), the English Speaking Union Award (1979), membership of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1980), fellowship of the Academy of American Poets (1982), the New York City Mayor’s Award of Honour for Arts and Culture, Bard College’s Charles Flint Kellogg Award in Art and Letters, membership of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1983), American Poetry Review’s Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Award (1983, 1995), Nation magazine’s Lenore Marshall Award, the Bollingen Prize, Timothy Dwight College/Yale University’s Wallace Stevens fellowship (1985), the MLA Common Wealth Award in Literature (1986), the American Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award (1987), Chancellorship of the Academy of American Poets (1988-1989), Brandeis University’s Creative Arts Award in Poetry (Medal) (1989), the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts (Munich)’s Horst Bienek Prize for Poetry (1991), Poetry magazine’s Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Academia Nazionale dei Lincei (Rome)’s Antonio Feltrinelli International Prize for Poetry (1992), the French Ministry of Education and Culture (Paris)’s Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (1993), the Poetry Society of America’s Robert Frost Medal (1995), the Grand Prix des Biennales Internationales de Poésie (Brussels), the Silver Medal of the City of Paris (1996), the American Academy of Arts and Letters’s Gold Medal for Poetry (1997), Boston Review of Books’s Bingham Poetry Prize (1998), the State of New York/New York State Writers Institute’s Walt Whitman Citation of Merit (2000), Columbia County (New York) Council on the Arts Special Citation for Literature, the Academy of American Poets’s Wallace Stevens Award, Harvard University’s Signet Society Medal for Achievement in the Arts (2001), the New York State Poet Laureateship (2001-2002), and France’s Officier de la Légion d’Honneur (2002).
   Ashbery lives in the Chelsea district of New York City and in Hudson, New York.

 

 

 

A note on Donald Hall

Donald Hall was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1928, and was educated at Phillips Exeter in New Hampshire and at the Universities of Harvard, Oxford and Stanford.
   He Is the author of numerous books of poetry, including White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems 1946-2006 (2006); The Painted Bed (2002); Without: Poems (1998); The Museum of Clear Ideas (1993); The One Day (1988), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination; The Happy Man (1986), which won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Kicking the Leaves (1978); The Yellow Room (1971); The Alligator Bride (1969); A Roof of Tiger Lilies (1964), The Dark Houses (1958); and Exiles and Marriages (1955), which was the Academy’s Lamont Poetry Selection for 1956.
   Hall’s many prose works include autobiographical books such as The Best Day The Worst Day: Life with Jane Kenyon (2005); children’s books such as Ox-Cart Man (1979), which won the Caldecott Medal; memoirs such as Their Ancient Glittering Eyes: Remembering Poets and More Poets: Robert Frost. Dylan Thomas, T.S. Eliot, Archibald MacLeish, Yvor Winters, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound (1993); and collections of short stories such as Willow Temple: New and Selected Stories (2003).
   Hall was poetry editor of The Paris Review from 1953 to 1962, and was a member of editorial board for poetry at Wesleyan University Press from 1958 to 1964.
   He has also edited more than fifty textbooks and anthologies, amongst them The Oxford Book of Children’s Verse in America (1990); The Best American Poetry (1989); The Oxford Book of American Literary Anecdotes (1981), New Poets of England and America (with Robert Pack and Louis Simpson, 1957), and Contemporary American Poetry (1962; revised 1972).
His many honours and awards include the Lamont Poetry Prize (1955), the Edna St Vincent Millay Award (1956), two Guggenheim Fellowships (1963-64, 1972-73), inclusion on the Horn Book Honour List (1986), the Sarah Josepha Hale Award (1983), the Lenore Marshall Award (1987), the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry (1988), the NBCC Award (1989), the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in poetry (1989), and the Frost Medal (1990). He has been nominated for the National Book Award on three separate occasions (1956, 1979 and 1993), was for five years Poet Laureate of his home state, New Hampshire (1984-89), and in 2006 accepted appointment as the Library of Congress’s fourteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.
   He lives in Danbury, New Hampshire.

 

 

 

A note on Anthony Hecht

Anthony Hecht was born in New York City in 1923, and was educated at Bard College, Columbia University and Kenyon College.
His books of poetry include Collected Later Poems (2004), which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; The Darkness and the Light (2001); Flight Among the Tombs (1996); The Transparent Man (1990); Collected Earlier Poems (1990); The Venetian Vespers (1979); Millions of Strange Shadows (1977); The Hard Hours (1967), which won the Pulitzer Prize; and A Summoning of Stones (1954).
   His prose books include Melodies Unheard: Essays on the Mysteries of Poetry (2003); On the Laws of Poetic Art: The Andrew Mellon Lectures, 1992 (1995) and Obbligati: Essays in Criticism (1986).
   He edited The Essential Herbert (1987) and Jiggery-Pokery: A Compendium of Double Dactyls (with John Hollander, 1967), and with Helen Bacon he translated Aeschylus’s Seven Against Thebes (1975).
   Hecht’s many honours and awards included the Prix de Rome (1951), two Guggenheim Fellowships (1954, 1959), The Hudson Review Fellowship (1958), two Ford Foundation Fellowships (1960, 1968), the Brandeis University Creative Arts Award (1965), a Rockefeller Fellowship (1967), a Fulbright Professorship in Brazil (1969), an Honorary Fellowship with the Academy of American Poets (1969), the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the Russell Loines Award (1968), Membership of the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1979), Chancellorship (1971), the Bollingen Prize in Poetry (1983), Trusteeship of the American Academy in Rome (1983), the Librex-Guggenheim Eugenio Montale Award (1984), the Harriet Monroe Award (1987), the Ruth B. Lilly Poetry Prize (1988), Chancellorship Emeritus of the Academy of American Poets (1995), the Tanning Prize (1997), the Corrington Award (1997), and the Poetry Society of America’s Frost Medal (2000). He was also Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. (1982-1984).
   As well as the B.A. he was awarded by Bard in 1944 and the M.A. he was awarded by Columbia in 1950, Hecht received honorary doctorates from Bard (1970), Georgetown University (1981), Towson State University, Maryland (1983) and the University of Rochester (1987).
   He lived with his wife Helen in Washington D.C., until his death on October 20th, 2004.

 

 

 

A note on Donald Justice

Donald Justice was born in Miami, Florida, in 1925, and was educated at the universities of Miami, North Carolina, Stanford, and Iowa.
His books of poetry include Collected Poems (2004), which was nominated for the National Book Award; New and Selected Poems (1995); The Sunset Maker (1987); Selected Poems (1979), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize; Departures (1973), which was also nominated for the National Book Award; Night Light (1967); and The Summer Anniversaries (1959), which was the Academy of American Poets’ Lamont Poetry Selection.
   Justice’s prose pieces were gathered in two collections: Oblivion: On Writers and Writing (1998) and Platonic Scripts (1984).
There is also A Donald Justice Reader (1991), which brings together some of Justice’s prose pieces and poems as well as a memoir.
   Justice taught for a variety of institutions, including Syracuse University, the University of California at Irvine, Princeton University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Iowa, and the University of Florida, Gainesville.
   He won the Bollingen Prize in Poetry in 1991 and received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He served as a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets from 1997 to 2003, and in 2004 was invited to serve as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress In Washington D.C., an honour he had to forgo because of ill-health.
   He lived with his wife, Jean Ross-Justice, in Iowa City, until his death on August 6, 2004. They have one son, Nathaniel.

 

 

 

A note on Charles Simic

Charles Simic was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1938, but emigrated to the United States in 1953. He served in the army for two years in the early ‘60s, and in 1967 obtained his B.A. from New York University.
   Simic has published numerous collections of poetry, amongst them My Noiseless Entourage (2005); Selected Poems: 1963-2003 (2004), for which he received the 2005 International Griffin Poetry Prize; The Voice at 3:00 AM: Selected Late and New Poems (2003); Night Picnic (2001); The Book of Gods and Devils (2000); Jackstraws (1999), which was nominated a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times; Looking for Trouble (1997); Walking the Black Cat (1996), which was a finalist for the National Book Award; Frightening Toys (1995); A Wedding in Hell (1994); Hotel Insomnia (1992); The Book of Gods and Devils (1990); The World Doesn’t End: Prose Poems (1990), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; Selected Poems: 1963-1983 (1990); Unending Blues (1986); Weather Forecast for Utopia and Vicinity: Poems 1967-1982 (1983); Austerities (1983); Classic Ballroom Dances (1980), which won the University of Chicago’s Harriet Monroe Award and the Poetry Society of America’s di Castagnola Award; Charon’s Cosmology (1977), which was nominated for a National Book Award; Return to a Place Lit by a Glass of Milk (1974); White (1972); Dismantling the Silence (1971); Somewhere Among Us a Stone Is Taking Notes (1969); and What the Grass Says (1967).
   Simic has also published a number of prose books: Metaphysician in the Dark (2003), A Fly in My Soup (2003), Orphan Factory (1998), The Unemployed Fortune-Teller: Essays and Memoirs (1994), Dime-Store Alchemy: The Art of Joseph Cornell (1992), Wonderful Words, Silent Truth: Essays on Poetry and a Memoir (1990), and The Uncertain Certainty: Interviews, Essays, and Notes on Poetry (1985).
   As well as editing several books, including The Best American Poetry, 1992 and The Essential Campion (1988), he has also published a great many translations, from poets such as Ivan Lalic, Vasko Popa, Tomasz Salamun and Aleksandar Ristovic.
Simic has been honoured with two PEN Awards for his work as a translator (1970, 1980), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1972), two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships (1974, 1979), the American Academy of Poets’ Edgar Allan Poe Award (1975), the American Academy Award (1976), a Fulbright Fellowship (1982), an Ingram Merrill Fellowship (1983), a MacArthur Fellowship (1984), an Academy of American Poets’ Fellowship (1998), and the University of New Hampshire’s Lindberg Award 'for his achievements as both an outstanding scholar and teacher in the College of Liberal Arts' (2002). In 1995, he was also elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; in 2000 he was appointed a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets; and in 2007 he was appointed as the Library of Congress’s fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.
   Simic lives with his wife in Strafford, New Hampshire.

 

 

 

A note on W .D. Snodgrass

William De Witt Snodgrass was born in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1926, and was educated at Geneva College and the University of Iowa. His books of poetry include Not for Specialists: New & Selected Poems (2006); The Führer Bunker: The Complete Cycle (1995); Each in His Season (1993); The Death of Cock Robin (with DeLoss McGraw) (1989); Selected Poems, 1957-1987; W.D.’s Midnight Carnival (with DeLoss McGraw) (1987); Remains: A Sequence of Poems (1985); The Führer Bunker: A Cycle of Poems in Progress (1977), which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and produced by Wynn Handman for The American Place Theatre; After Experience (1968); and Heart’s Needle (1959), which won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
   Snodgrass has also produced three books of literary criticism, De-Compositions (2001); To Sound Like Yourself: Essays on Poetry (2003) and In Radical Pursuit (1975), a memoir, After-Images (1999), and six volumes of translation, many of whose contents were gathered together in his Selected Translations (1998), which won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award.
   As well as those listed above, Snodgrass’s honours include an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award (1958), a special citation from the Poetry Society of America (1960), and the British Guinness Award for Poetry (1961), fellowships from the Hudson Review (1958), the Guggenheim Foundation (1972) and The Academy of American Poets (1973), grants from the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1960) and the Ford Foundation (1963), and membership of the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1972).
    He and his wife Kathy divide their year between upstate New York and Mexico.

 

 

 

A note on Richard Wilbur

Richard Wilbur was born in New York City, in 1921, and studied at Amherst College and Harvard University. He has published many books of poetry, including Collected Poems, 1943-2004 (2004); Mayflies: New Poems and Translations (2000); New and Collected Poems (1988), which won the Pulitzer Prize as well as being nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Mind-Reader: New Poems (1976); Walking to Sleep: New Poems and Translations (1969); Advice to a Prophet and Other Poems (1961); Things of This World (1956), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award; Ceremony and Other Poems (1950) and The Beautiful Changes (1947).
   Wilbur has also published a great many translations, producing acclaimed versions of plays by Molière and Racine, as well as poetry by Akhmatova, Apollinaire, Baudelaire, Borges, Brodsky, Dante, La Fontaine, Mallarmé, Valéry, Villon, Voznesensky, and many others.
    Wilbur has produced two essay collections, The Catbird’s Song (1997) and Responses (1976, 2000), and has written (and sometimes illustrated) several books for children, amongst them The Pig in the Spigot (2000), Opposites, More Opposites, and Some Differences (2000), and The Disappearing Alphabet (1998).
   He has also edited a number of books, including Witter Bynner’s Selected Poems (1978), Poems of Shakespeare (1966) and Poe: Complete Poems (1959).
   Wilbur’s many honours and awards include two Guggenheim Fellowships (1952, 1963); the Prix de Rome Fellowship (1954); the Edna St. Vincent Millay Memorial Award (1957); a Ford Foundation Award (1960); the Melville Cane Award (1962); the Sarah Josepha Hale Award (1968); the Brandeis University Creative Arts Award (1970); the Henri Desfeuilles Prize (1971); two Bollingen Prizes (1971, 1963); the Shelley Memorial Award (1972); the Harriet Monroe Poetry Award (1978); the St. Botolph’s Club Foundation Award (1983); the Drama Desk Award for Translation (1983); a Camargo Foundation Fellowship (1985); appointment as Poetry Consultant to the Library of Congress (1987); the St Louis Literature Award (1988); the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry (1988); the Washington College Literature Award (1988); the Taylor Poetry Award (1988); the Bunn Award (1988); the American Academy of Arts and Letters’s Gold Medal Award for Poetry (1991); the Edward MacDowell Medal (1992); the National Arts Club Medal of Honour for Literature (1994); two PEN translation awards (1995, 1983); the American Academy Achievement Award (1995); the T. S. Eliot Award (1996); the Milton Center Prize (1995); the Frost Medal (1996); election as a chevalier of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (1997); the Wallace Stevens Award (2003); the Ruth Lilly Prize (2006).
   Wilbur lives in Cummington, Massachusetts.

 
 
 

 

 

BTL
an imprint of
THE WAYWISER PRESS