The Poet Laureate and the Fraygrants

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Sept. 5 1998 3:30 AM

The Poet Laureate and the Fraygrants

Robert Pinsky goes toe-to-toe with participants in "The Fray."

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I mean "voice" quite literally. I think that part of poetry's unique appeal is that it is a bodily art in which the medium is the audience's body--that is, our voice. When I say a Dickinson poem aloud, my breath is her art's medium. So when I write, I am trying to make something in my voice that will sound good in the reader's own voice, as he/she says or imagines saying the words.

This makes poetry a uniquely intimate, yet public or civic, art.

KurtMondaugen--

Mr. Pinsky,

Like NuPlanet, I find this statement most interesting:

"But along with that intellectual pull, there's the physical attraction of the sounds of words; and the two are related, because the allure of the riddle is partly the physical, mysterious presence of sounds that are just beginning to mean something."

It's this line of thought that has led to my interest in "Sound Poetry," exemplified by the works of Tzara, Schwitters, Heidsieck, Haussmann, etc. Strangely enough, this kind of poem is generally met with resistance and/or disapproval from those primarily interested in less marginalized forms. Do you have any thoughts on these poets or on this field in general?

RobertPinsky--

Kurt,

I guess I consider all poetry sound poetry, and there are examples or schools in any art that emphasize one aspect (e.g., the physical) at the expense of others, validly. But the Pinsky family motto is "All of the Above."

NuPlanetOne--

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