More than 300 established and emerging poets have taken part in the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival held every two years in Waterloo, New Jersey, since 1986. The inimitable and indefatigable Bill Moyers was on hand for the 1998 four-day event to make a two-hour documentary, which has already aired on PBS. In this valuable companion volume, he presents interviews with eleven poets who read some of their works and talk about their art.
In an informative introduction, Moyers alludes to the magic of poetry its sensual, intellectual, and spiritual potency. Ninety-five-year old poet Stanley Kunitz talks of his craft as "the telling of the soul's passage through the valley of this life, its adventure in time, in history." Coleman Barks, the most popular translator of Rumi, discusses ecstatic poetry as a meeting place for music, silence, and friendship. Mark Doty salutes poetry's "preservative ability to take a moment in time and make an attempt to hold it." And Jane Hirshfield, a student of Zen and a great appreciator of women's spirituality, reveals her yearning "to be translucently awake." Fans of poetry will find much food for the soul in these illuminating interviews.