...clearly, there are political poets whose dazzling personal intensity & fireworks of experience are far more exciting than the goodly little gray poet-figure I present... For these poets, life & politics & art are all one, fused in a demanding existential personal performance.

I go along with that. Everything, in my book, is infused with personality & personhood.

Yet I also like to think of Poetry itself - the communal endeavor, the "tradition" if you will - Poetry with a capital P - as the performance : & that we individual poets are the channels & the interpreters.

This has been a particular dialectic in American poetry, I think - between the scrawny, brave and inimitable voice of individual experience - and the Grand Communal Voice of Poetry. Quite a juggling act.

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