When an accomplished poet tells you that he also builds boats, makes guitars, and catalogues micro-organisms it’s pretty hard not to want to connect the dots. But what if the poet tells you there are no lines to be drawn? Bruce Taylor lives with his wife and two teenaged children in a many-roomed wooden house […]

Ezra Pound advises the poet to charge language with meaning “to the utmost possible degree.” Critic Harold Bloom posits that poets, inspired to write by reading other poets, produce, as a sorry result, work that is derivative, weak, soon forgotten. The influence of great predecessors is, he says, like influenza, “an astral disease,” an anxiety-causing […]

Reading Geoffrey Hill’s Collected Critical Writings feels a lot like what it might to step into a graduate seminar in 19th century poetry without having taken the prerequisite courses, or completed the required reading. It will not be immediately understood by ‘a common well educated, thoughtful man of ordinary talents;’ or, for that matter, by […]