At some point, yesterday or long ago, you read a poem and something happened to you: and you thought, or you didn’t quite think: yes. And this affirmative recognized a need, or a touch, or more precisely an answer to a question you hadn't even asked. The question hadn’t existed until the work appeared to create it, opening that space, revealing a gap.
First up in this series of interviews is Commune Editions. You can read more about their mission and books at http://www.communeeditions.com. They have already taken part in other interviews, also, and if you go to their website, you can find links to evermore information about the press.
a. Do you think poetry has a political mission?
All poems have politics, whether or not their authors will admit it. And there is probably a strong case to be made for the connection between poetry and revolution.
The black screen that greeted me when I opened the PennSound link seemed particularly appropriate for the First Reading assignment. No context, no introduction, no preamble; just a recording of Bunting in the form of a nondescript audio file that, after clicking play, inched its way across the black screen, its bar changing from grey to white in just under three minutes. The URL reveals that the recording dates back to 1977. The PennSound Bunting page yields little extra: “Blame Not My Lute” is but one of eleven Wyatt poems that Bunting read at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1977. Wyatt was keeping good company on that occasion as Bunting, it appears, also read poems by Pound, Spenser, Whitman, and Zukofsky.
I noted in the last conversation-commentary that Alison Wong had had a few pragmatic issues to deal with, including a major house shift and subsequent loss of internet connection for a time. Indeed she has since sent me material via the library!
So let's continue our conversation about Kiwi-Asian poetry...Alison Wong comes in and it is a pleasure to talk to her, for she has been a significant New Zealand author and poet for quite some time now and was also a Robert Burns Fellow.