All the same, I'd like to highlight the following part of the interview with Denise Levertov at http://www.pw.org/mag/levertov.htm. ----- Does your emphasis on a metaphysical dimension in poetry distinguish your work from that of William Carlos Williams? There is more of such a dimension in his poetry than many readers and critics have noticed. They get stuck on that damned red wheelbarrow and those stupid plums and they never look any further. In the essay "Some Affinities of Content," you spoke about how you responded to the goal of Northwest poets to submerge themselves in something larger than individual ego, in their case, nature. Do you try the same approach in your poetry? I hope I do. I'm certainly very tired of the me, me, me kind of poem, the Sharon Olds "Find the dirt and dig it up" poem, which has influenced people to find gruesome episodes in their life, whether they actually happened or not. Back when Robert Lowell and Anne Sexton were the models for neophytes, you had to have spent some time in a mental hospital to qualify as a poet. Now you have to have been abused. I know perfectly well that lots of people really have been abused, but it's unfortunate to use the fact of abuse as the passport to being a poet. I'm certainly tired of that kind of egotism. Does this desire to submerge the ego involve a kind of spiritual quest, whether explicitly religious or not? I think that's true, don't you? It's in the air. When I started writing explicitly Christian poems, I thought I'd lose part of my readership. But I haven't actually. I think interest in religion is a counterforce to the insane, rationalist optimism that surrounds the development of all this new technology. This optimism is a twentieth-century repeat of attitudes in the nineteenth century, when they thought that steam, electricity, and telephones were going to make for some kind of utopia. There's a lot of dependence on technology today, and a willful ignorance that it's messing up resources, may end up destroying life on this planet, and then we'll have to start over without it. Our ethical development does not match our technological development. This sense of spiritual hunger is something of a counterforce or unconscious reaction to all that technological euphoria. Did your understanding of poetic inspiration help to imagine what it would be like to have religious faith? That's one way of putting it. When you're really caught up in writing a poem, it can be a form of prayer. I'm not very good at praying, but what I experience when I'm writing a poem is close to prayer. I feel it in different degrees and not with every poem. But in certain ways writing is a form of prayer. ----- CR --------------------------------- Yahoo! oneSearch: Finally, mobile search that gives answers, not web links.