Wednesday, May 31, 2006

These notes, such as they are, come from a talk Alice Notley gave two years ago during the Naropa Summer Writing Program -- the talk was on Poetry and Noir.

"These [crime novels] pretend to be coherent but mostly they aren't.

A story repeated becomes a poem.

Crime fiction -- a kind of folk song, a bloody ballad maybe.

First person -- the mark of the inept crime writer.

Many of the books simmer with cruelty. I'm not sure whose. The reader's or the author's?

We are obvioiusly involved here in the poem of "we must have war."

Many poems are cases and it is the geometry of case-solving that interests me.

The idea of needing to know who killed whom among the primary materials of poetry.

The best writers can't tolerate the stasis of corpse description passages.

I will search for you across light to undo murder [from Notley's The Black Trailer]

Perhaps contemporary poetry has become too reticent for my taste.

One's process is always a kind of third thing.

So much of my writing is elegaic because so much has happened.

There is more of everything all the time and that is the problem."


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