Our new poet laureate was interviewed for the NY Times Magazine and the results can be found here. Phil speaks of the worst job he ever had in Detroit ("Chevrolet gear and axle. I worked nights, mainly in a forge room, stamping out large pieces of metal in a drop forge. I couldn’t get over my fear of that red metal"), disses John Barr of the Poetry Foundation, expresses his disappointment with President Obama, and comes out in favor of Lyndon Johnson. Some excerpts:
You think Obama’s a Manchurian Candidate?
No. I don’t. But I think I voted for a man who is not as able and confident as I thought. When he campaigned, he seemed like a genius, but I think he may not have been up to the task. It’s foolish to say this, but the guy we need right now is Lyndon Johnson. We need a bully and a really shrewd manipulator.
I wonder if you agree with John Barr, the president of the Poetry Foundation, who, with the help of a $200 million endowment, has been trying to popularize poetry by encouraging poets to write more upbeat poems.
Hell, no. I can’t believe this guy Barr is a poet, because I don’t think a real poet would think in that way. When a poem comes to you, you’re not going to say, “Oh, no, this goddamned poem is just too mean-spirited.” You’re going to run with it.