Christine Gelineau is the author of Remorseless Loyalty, and co-editor of French Connections: A Gathering of Franco-American Poets.
1. What poet should be in Obama’s cabinet, and in what role?
4. Who is the most exciting new poet I’ve never heard of, but whose work I ought to find and read?
Patrick Phillips and Maurya Simon have received enough high profile attention probably not to qualify for this category . . .
6. “Poetry must resist the intelligence almost successfully” or “No ideas but in things”?
I find both pronouncements attractive but as with anyone who might find simpatico with both ideas, I’m sure I emphasis the “almost” in Stevens’ claim rather more than those who feel a clear allegiance to “resistance” over “ideas.”
9. What lines from a poem you first read years ago still haunt you now?
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made.
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
…Peace comes dropping slow, …the linnet’s wing, …in the deep heart’s core.
Clearly memorization is not my forte . . . the lines I recall come to me in scraps . . . their eyes, their ancient glittering eyes, were gay. That's the line that makes me sorry to have lost that meaning of the word “gay” --
17. Tell the truth: is it a poetry book you keep in the john, or some other genre (john-re)?
The porcelain library is our household’s periodical reading room—scattered in among the literary journals and the PMLA is everything from American Farmer and The Atlantic through Family Handyman and The Morgan Connection to the White Flower Farm catalog and Time Magazine.
18. Can you name every teacher you had in elementary school? Did any of them make you memorize a poem? What poem(s)?
First Grade: Sister Mary . . . ?
Second Grade: Sister Mary Joseph
Third Grade: Sister Mary Leah
Fourth Grade: Sister Rose Sharon
Fifth Grade: Sister Ann Louise
Sixth Grade: Sister Ann Bernadette
We memorized several with Longfellow the “frequent-flyer.” I do remember some stretches of “Paul Revere’s Ride.” I was a horse-crazy kid stuck in the suburbs with a goldfish for a pet—the galloping rhythm was the irresistible element.