James Laughlin Quotes.
I try to write in plain brown blocks of American speech but occasionally set in an ancient word or a strange word just to startle the reader a little bit and to break up the monotony of the plain American cadence.
Every now and then, I strike something that just goes click, you know, in my head. As Gertrude Stein used to say, it rings the bell, and I feel, this is great.
We don’t attempt to have any theme for a number of the anthology, or to have any particular sequence. We just put in things that we like, and then we try to alternate the prose and the poetry.
It’s all well and good to say that Germans were all responsible for the concentration camps, but I don’t think they were. I think that was the work of a small group of fiends.
Concrete poets continue to turn out beautiful things, but to me they’re more visual than oral, and they almost really belong on the wall rather than in a book. I haven’t the least idea of where poetry is going.
I think there is a great difference, in that when the poet is reading you get the whole personality of the person, especially if he’s a good reader. Whereas a person just sitting gets what he puts into it.
We do very little re-writing in the office. We often take on people who show great promise and who we hope will develop into somebody important and someone good.
I think most people read and re-read the things that they have liked. That’s certainly true in my case. I re-read Pound a great deal, I re-read Williams, I re-read Thomas, I re-read the people whom I cam to love when I was at what you might call a formative stage.
Then, of course, there are those sad occasions when a poet or a writer has not grown, and one has to let them go because they’re just not making headway. But we have a very clear personal relationship with the authors.
I think that concrete poetry seems to have, as far as I can see, come to a kind of a dead end. It doesn’t seem to be going any further than it went in its high period of about five or six years ago.
With me it’s the whole thing, it’s the conceit, the idea, what the poem is saying. And it goes on just as long as is necessary to say what needs to be said.
The German experience, as you can see, did move me very much. Seeing that terrible destruction and seeing the miserable state of the people, how they had been beaten down by the war through no fault of their own probably.
I think that is where poetry reading becomes such an individual thing. I mean I have friend who like poets who just don’t say anything to me at all, I mean they seem to me rather ordinary and pedestrian.
I think there’s no excuse for the American poetry reader not knowing a good deal about what is going on in the rest of the world.
I do read everything that we publish. We usually have to have two or three votes for a book before we take it on. So in that sense I suppose it is an orchestra.
[Gertrude Stein] really needed someone like Virgil Thomson, whom she respected, to sit on her a bit and make her devise some plot.
I often feel I’m working in a vacuum, or in a country where few readers hear the sounds.