New American Poets

New American Poets: Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark author photo


I had a small part in Napoleonette. I wrapped some meat in newsprint and handed it to a woman. The scene was shot in one morning. Since I am no fan of film, I went home, and in the afternoon the phone rang me from my sleep. Boucher was angry, he said, "All it was was the lady reaching over the counter-for nothing!-you weren't even there."

Sometimes a ghost entered my heart and I could feel, and sometimes phrases entered my mind and I could speak, with reason. But never was I able to stay a man long enough to remain him.

All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

If you could commission any poet, living or dead, to write a poem about a subject of your choice, who would you choose and what would you have them write about?

Arthur Symons on Boards of Canada.

When did you set your foot on the path of poetry? Did you feel a sudden bolt? Or did you grow gradually more passionate about poetry?

There is no path of poetry.

Is there a collaborative element to your writing process and what do you think it is?

I rely on my work (job) to provide a necessary feeling of permission to create.

Do you think that poetry can have an effect on everyday speech?

Rap does.

Are there poems, poets, or anthologies that have opened up or radically altered your ideas of what can be done in poetry? How did they do that?

Early on, a Victor Hugo poem entitled "Demain, dès l'aube."

Are there aspects of painting or photography or dance or video art or music or architecture or theater or film or any other art form that you learn from or put to use in your own poems?

Anything I encounter. Probably everything.

Did you start off with an idea that your book grew around? Did you move away from that idea as the book progressed?

No in both cases.

Are you interested in the relationship between poetry and politics? Do you believe that your own poetry has political implications?

As far as the first question is concerned, I'm interested in politics. My own poetry has no political implications. I like to think that how I lead my life does, though.

Do you think that your poetry or poetry in general speaks to spiritual or religious yearnings and struggles? If so, how?

For certain people it must. For me, writing poetry is release, discipline, erotic, a shunt. I would say, in fact, "exorcism," but that word's connotations aren't precisely fitting.

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