The great thing about both poetry and criticism is that neither is condemned to, nor saved by, contemporary appraisal. Time figures it out. The next poets and critics, they figure it out. I write with a free heart because of this. As a writer you can’t cheat history and you can’t conqueror time. For the writer there’s that one granule of sand you try to pry from the shore to write all of your life’s work on. Then you put it down, the sea rises, and that’s that. You began the first line of your first book of poetry with “I was appointed the poet of heaven” and set out from there. Haven’t you been writing back to that line since? Part of me believes rather strongly we’re all at work on one poem, one great poem, and one great piece of criticism. And that they together form one plangent whole. This is the American in me, no doubt, which tends to rise and recede. Alas, this belief chafes against our particularly American poetic problem: our stultifying monolingualism. We’re working on it, but it’s kind of silly and sad.
An interview with poet Ricardo Rowan Phillips, whose debut collection is entitled The Ground. He also translated Dalkey’s upcoming release of Salvador Espriu’s Ariadne in the Grotesque Labyrinth. [via Work in Progress]