Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Purest Form of Generosity

What's one of the most important ideas that shapes Matthew Zapruder's poetry?
It’s pretty simple: talk as if someone’s listening. When there are flaws in contemporary American poetry, a lot of times you can trace it back to a failure to even consider the fact that people might be listening. Even if you were to reject that notion or say, “That’s not for me, I have other considerations,” you’re thinking about it. You have to take that seriously, as a fact of the world. Simone Weil has this very famous simple statement: “attention is the purest form of generosity.” The flipside of that is, when you have someone’s attention, you have a kind of responsibility. It doesn’t mean you have to be serious about that or even respectful of it. But to not even deal with the fact that’s happening just seems like such a grievous oversight. I think a lot of poetry seems oblivious to the fact that someone might be reading it or hearing it.

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