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Poetry in Person: Twenty-five Years of Conversation with America's Poets

4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  74 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
“In the fall of 1970, at the New School in Greenwich Village, a new teacher posted a flyer on the wall,” begins Alexander Neubauer’s introduction to this remarkable book. “It read ‘Meet Poets and Poetry, with Pearl London and Guests.’” Few students responded. No one knew Pearl London, the daughter of M. Lincoln Schuster, cofounder of Simon & Schuster. But the seminar’s ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 6th 2011 by Knopf (first published 2010)
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Oct 01, 2010 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me be clear about something: no matter how much I read about poetry, I still feel like I know nothing about poetry. This is mainly because I am a fiction writer who forces himself to teach it. Even on my best days, I often feel like a baseball player teaching cricket. It seems, at first, like a similar game, but the the more I look it at it, the more I don't know what the hell is going on. What's a wicket? Why does the bat look like a spanking paddle? Since when did we allow bouncing pitches ...more
Miro Capili
Aug 21, 2013 Miro Capili rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chronicles an educator's abiding fire (because all other words fall short) for poetic iterations through interviews with some of the most authoritative American poets. Among others, one chapter discusses the process of creation and revision behind one of my favorite poems, "Meditation at Lagunitas," with its author Robert Hass.

The resulting discussions are informal yet incisive, with the interviewer displaying an admirable grasp of the social, personal, political, and (ultimately) linguistic nu
Therese Broderick
Apr 21, 2015 Therese Broderick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent collection of interviews, with tailored questions focusing on the craft of writing, with diverse major poets providing line-by-line "process notes" for their own short poems -- dazzling and profound poems that have artistic merit well beyond their instructive value -- and with a skilled interviewer intimately known to the interviewees. The book's 23 chapters date from 1973 to 1996; nevertheless, the remarks of these learned and thoughtful poets remain as relevant and important as ever. ...more
Diann Blakely
The largely unknown Pearl London made poetry—or, to be more specific, poets—accessible to her students at the New School in Greenwich Village over the course of 25 years. The invited poets were required to bring not completed works but unfinished drafts, even jottings on envelopes, scribbled phrases or anything else that contributed to “works in progress as process.” The astonishing humility of poets who accepted the increasingly coveted summons included Nobel and U.S. poets laureate, as well as ...more
Daniel Klawitter
Mar 28, 2013 Daniel Klawitter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a marvelous discovery for me. I'm also fairly certain that any serious reader of poetry will find this book interesting and informative. Among the many poets interviewed in the book are three of my favorites: James Merrill, Edward Hirsch, and Charles Simic. To learn more about their writing process and how they revised some of their well-known works was great...a little peek behind the artistic curtain so to speak.

But I personally (as a poet myself) found the following remarks by
May 17, 2011 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poetry in Person collects 25 interviews with some very famous poets. I will be the first to admit I picked this book because I liked the cover, but I was also drawn in by the concept. Fiction is a genera that I tend to like hearing more about the process than actually reading the product and thought I may feel the same way about poetry.
The interviews all provide some wonderful insight into how the poets go about writing and the techniques that they employ to get their meaning across. I was al
Feb 16, 2016 Amester rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How cool to go through the process of writing a poem with some of the greatest poets of the last 50 years! This book is revealing, thought-provoking, enlightening. Authors of the highest order (Pulitzer and National Book Award winners, poet laureates, etc.) take you through poems that sometimes took years to complete. A great glimpse into the process of creating a poetic work.
Dec 12, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting look into some great poets' practices. Includes Robert Haas, Louise Gluck, Lee Young Lee, CK Williams, Molly Peacock, Muriel Rukeyser, Amy Clampitt, Paul Muldoon and others. Each poet engages in a classroom conversation about her/his aesthetic, process, hangups, etc. within the context of one of the poet's own poems in draft. Surprising in places, useful, inspiring. It's unlike other books of its kind in that many of these iconic poets were at earlier places in their careers and many ...more
Jan 11, 2011 Kasandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tons of great quotes and thoughts and back-and-forth meaty conversation on poetry with some great poets (Derek Walcott's interview in here is wonderful, as is Molly Peacock's)... shortly after beginning to read this book, I was glad I'd bought it, because I ended up highlighting a good deal of inspirational material. Entertaining and funny and insightful. I only wish it were three times as long! The New Yorker ad for this book was a bit misleading, because it mentioned Mark Strand, who did atten ...more
Cosmic Arcata
I really enjoyed listening to poets discus their work and the work of those that influenced them. This audio gave me a deeper appreciation for poets and how hard they work. Listening to them read their own poetry was also revealing. Loved the interplay in the classroom....everyone was engaged.
I love interviews with writers. I wasn't as excited by each of these interviews as I'd hoped to be, but I got a good feeling from the project as a whole, which ends up being a celebratory documentary of a class held at the New School wherein poetry reader and champion extraordinaire Pearl London invited poets to come talk to her students and share drafts of their poems. She's the primary interviewer (aside from a few questions from her students) and really enters into imaginative sympathy with e ...more
Jun 08, 2011 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
For anyone interested in the process of poetry and in poets as people, this anthology is a unique opportunity to get inside the heads of many respected contemporary poets. Even more compelling than the discussion of how one of each poet's works-in-progress is being crafted is the way their personalities shine through in the dialogues they had with Pearl London (an unusually ardent devotee of poetry) in her college workshops. It's so engaging that reading it makes your back ache from the stiff cl ...more
Sep 23, 2011 Karol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, poetry
This is a lyrical, sensitive, and eye-opening book that provides a window into the poetic process of some of the best modern poets. Each discusses a work in progress with Pearl London, a poet turned professor who recorded her workshops at The New School. Alexander Neubauer curated these conversations in a rich, illuminating, and ultimately liberating book, because you see how each poet has his or her own distinct sense of how to write and revise a poem. What you take away is a multitude of possi ...more
Lefty Right
Nov 28, 2010 Lefty Right rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful yet infuriating. If you're reading this as a way to uncover the secrets of poetry, it may not help. The different poets interviewed, in this book, are so varied and often disagree completely about their thoughts on writing and what to write about. This book will make poets feel better about their limitations, as it becomes clear that even the best have them.
May 10, 2013 Sasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has allowed me to listen in on poets describing their own writing processes and on a sensitive teacher who read their work closely and persistently pursued those poets through questions. A valuable book.
Sep 26, 2010 Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
The variety of poets alone would make this a must-read. I borrowed this from the library, but this is definitely a book I want to have on my shelves to re-read & refer to. Loved it.
Mar 11, 2011 Tara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nice collection of a variety of poets talking about specific poems and their creative process. Transcription of interviews conducted at the New School from 1970 to 1998.
I only read the interviews with the poets I know, but judging by those the rest are TERRIFIC.
Don Wentworth
Jun 05, 2014 Don Wentworth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Occasionally insightful, sometimes frustrating ... some jarringly edited conversations.
Ambrose Miles
Mar 21, 2014 Ambrose Miles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing wonderful conversations with poets.
May 24, 2016 Ig-88 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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