like dropping into a cavern in the raiders of the lost ark

The question that my readers ask me most often is... probably [about] the fact of poetry itself as an art form, and that somebody would do that, and why it’s possible, and how it might work, and how it exists in our culture. Because there’re a lot of people who know a lot about poetry and they would have a specific set of issues, almost like political in a sense, or theological. People outside of it sort of don’t know about it, and sort of discover it – it’s like dropping into a cavern in The Raiders of the Lost Ark, you see all this stuff you didn’t know existed. You’re sort of startled that there is such a developed and elaborate world in American poetry. So I think people from outside poetry are really surprised and interested in the whole fact of its density and its contentiousness and its richness. People inside are more interested in technical and partisan and political and aesthetic agonism, struggle, conflict.

- Charles Bernstein, in an interview with those lit-crazy folks in Iowa City which quickly takes a turn away from the "City of Literature" and towards "Silly Town, USA". Whether it has already taken that turn in this quote is yours to determine (for instance: "surprised" I could see, but "interested"?). You can watch the whole thing on YouTube here.

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