Measured Extravagance

25 April 2002 - 9:36 p.m.

Cheered by George Bradley's words on truth, poetry and planning. Two quotes:

Staring out the window is what I do. Walking around town is what John Ashbery does. A lot of poets drink too much while waiting for ideas; drinking too much while listening to loud music was what Hart Crane did.

Favorites get chosen for all of the wrong reasons. For example, there's a poem in my previous volume with Knopf called "Paideia." Prior to book publication, it used to come back regularly from various magazine editors with notes of minimal politeness (not, I assure you, an unusual event); but once it came back from a very well-known magazine with a little letter admonishing me for sending in something so flippant. Well, it is flippant, but it's also deeply serious. The poem instantly became a favorite of mine, and in fact it's proven popular at readings.

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