Sunday, June 17, 2007

Li-Young Lee on Poetry

The Summer 2004 issue of Rattle contains a wonderful interview with Li-Young Lee. Among the gems is this passage about wholeness:
...what I really love when I read a poem is the visceral experience of a sense of wholeness ... every poem is a portrait of the speaker, right? So if my experience of that speaker is a kind of integrated, a deeply integrated but at the same time highly differentiated psyche ... then I get a real sense of satisfaction, a sense somehow that in the poem the intellectual function is informed of the emotional function and they are both informed of the erotic function and the erotic function is informed of the spiritual function. Sometimes I have a problem when I read a poem that's just the mental function, it seems uninformed of the physical functions or the emotional functions or the spiritual functions. Or even a poem that is just the spiritual function working overtime but uninformed of the other functions. So what I love is a poem that somehow posits, proposes, a condition of wholeness.
I too subscribe to a notion that a poem ought to express as much as possible a poet's entire being, but seriously doubt I could articulate that notion better than Li-Young Lee does here. Thanks to Robert Peake for sharing this. I love Li-Young Lee's poetry. For more on him in this blog (inc. links to poems and interviews), click on the label below.

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