The Poet Laureate and the Fraygrants
The Poet Laureate and the Fraygrants
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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Let me clarify: To say it is a vocal art does not mean that it is a performative art. I am not thinking of the expert actor or poet or orator performing in a hall so much as I am the person muttering a few lines or a whole memorized poem while in the shower, or driving--or the person reading the poem aloud to a lover, child, one or two friends. "Do you know these lines of Whitman ..." and then the reading. Or just the way I comfort my mind with a few snatches of "Sailing to Byzantium" or whatever ... that's near the center of the art, for me.


That is a perfect clarification. Thank you.

I also do not want anyone to go away with the image that I look down upon the practice of reading poetry aloud. I think what you are trying to do with your "Favorite" poem project is excellent, and very important. Especially for, though not limited to, children. Now here is an area where I know reading poetry aloud has a meaningful and lasting effect. Having spent uncountable hours reciting too many rhymes, riddles, and tattered Golden Books to my kids, I am well aware that it does make a difference. In any case, thanks for dropping in this evening, and I really think you should just pop into the other poetry thread from time to time (you do lurk there, I hope?) and let us pick your brain or vice versa. Ciao.


"The Unseen" is a devastating poem about your visit to Krakow--the concentration camps. The title is perfect--because it's almost what you didn't see that evokes the pain and anger. This kind of poem seems so hard to write. I've tried and failed for the most part.

On a lighter note: Do you still play the sax?



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