Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Today I did two radio interviews, one for National Radio in Ireland, and one for Night Waves on the BBC's Radio 3. The Irish interview took place in a studio in Oxford, so I couldn't see my interviewer, just hear his voice as he delivered a set of questions and responses to my book THEORIES & APPARITIONS so insightful that I was happily taken aback. I don't think the book has found such an insightful, active reader, one who drew subtle connections, mapping out the architectural structure of the book with an acumen so sharp that I felt instructed about the poems myself. This just wouldn't happen, couldn't happen, in the U.S., not only because we simply don't have radio like this but also because we barely have such poetry critics.
Later, I went over to Broadcasting House in London -- see their moody, beautiful sculptural facade, above -- and appeared on Nightwaves, a wide-ranging cultural program. Present were a theatre critic talking about a production of Love's Labor Lost, a film historian discussing Hunger, a new documentary on an IRA hunger strike in an Irish prison, and yours truly. The interviewer handled all of us with equal ease, and he was consistently penetrating, charming and alert. We talked about John Berryman, Wordsworth, Whitman, Emerson and Thoreau. I couldn't help but think about the relative poverty of American cultural life by contrast; here was an urbane center, where arts and ideas of all sorts were held in esteem, and taken seriously through an attentive, critical, engaged examination.
And then I walked out, an hour later, into a snowstorm. Honest. It seemed the weirdest thing, the windshields of the parked cars all gone completely white.