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He’s as unafraid to tackle whatever comes his way as he is to grapple with the formal history of these sonnets. “There are really a hundred ways in which, despite having the ‘right’ ideas, a poem can go wrong.
Looking for recent collections of poetry to read this year? It’s the same old pen and page, or stylus and parchment, as ever, regardless of the different ways it gets distributed or read.
Just as hard one day, and easy the next, as fate or luck or effort decides.
Noise it would be best to switch off before trying to write a poem.
You’ve just released a new collection of poetry, Tell me a bit about it. My life story, such as it is, hasn’t been a central feature of any of my collections, though it might enter at the margin of quite a few poems or prompt them.
Another factor—which is true for everyone—is that poetry collections need to settle in your mind.
If you’re asked to review it, you accelerate that process, but if you’re reading for pleasure or interest, it can be a slightly more diffuse experience.And this last year, the demands of translating and of putting together a book of essays have left me even less time than usual for contemporary poetry.Which means there’s probably good work I haven’t read, or haven’t read with sufficient concentration to know how I feel about it.He’s doing his thing, which he does very well, but he’s not setting himself this problem.That’s not intended as disapproval: Lowell’s work is mostly fun for everyone else; it’s enriching, and he brings something to it. I’ve translated from languages I don’t know and those that I do.You might say better him than a talentless person who know the language. Translating from a language you don’t know is quite liberating, because you aren’t accountable to the same extent.But he’s using other people’s translations to create his art. However, my feeling is that you do a better job—or at least I do—knowing the other language.The reception seems a lot patchier than it used to be, as regards newspapers and magazines.It can be a lonely life, so I guess that’s the appeal of the social media, which have created an atmospheric change.There are really a hundred ways in which, despite having the ‘right’ ideas, a poem can go wrong.But the energy, agility and invention of Hayes’s work guards against most of them, and emphatically win the reader over.