poetry is for the nighttime

rob mclennan: Do you have any theoretical concerns behind your writing? What kinds of questions are you trying to answer with your work? What do you even think the current questions are?

William Vallières: Theory is important in helping us understand reality. I read theory and philosophy avidly. But I think, in the end, they’re for the daytime. Poetry is for the nighttime. Poetry is about “always working / beyond your own intelligence,” as Les Murray put it. [Italo] Calvino talks about keeping your cards close to your chest.

mclennan: What do you see the current role of the writer being in larger culture? Does s/he even have one? What do you think the role of the writer should be?

Vallières: The role of the writer should be to remind people how to be free. Gary Snyder said: “Three-fourths of philosophy and literature is the talk of people trying to convince themselves that they like the cage they were tricked into entering.” Poetry should smash the cage and build a nest instead.

- William Vallières, answering rob mclennan's 12 or 20 questions over on his blog. You can read the whole thing here.

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