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BPJ Barks Interview

In addition to the beautiful cover (Ding Jitang “Picking Persimmons,” Xi’an, China, 2000) and the carefully selected poetry to fill its pages, this issue (v60 n3) of Beliot Poetry Journal includes a conversation with Coleman Barks by John Rosenwald and Ann Arbor. In it, they talk about “the relationship between music and poetry, isolation and community, judgment and acceptance.”

For anyone who has seen Barks read along with musicians (visit YouTube if you have not), this interview adds another layer of depth to the idea of poetry and music combined, as well as to the complexity of Barks. As Barks says of joining his reading with musicians, “I work regularly with cello; I mean any instrument. The poem feels just so bare or something; I think the music puts it out of the mind, puts it in that layer below, back down in the water table. Somewhere the music lets the personality maybe dissolve a little more, or the ego. A lot of people think that the poem should stand on its own, but it feels good; it feels like I’m giving up some of my proudness, pride in the language of selection, when I let the music carry it along.”

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