This astonishing book is a companion to Bill Moyers' 1995 public television series The Language of Life. Airing as an eight-part series, it was filmed on location at the fifth annual Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival in Waterloo, New Jersey. In Moyers' inimitable style of interviewing, we recognize his blend of enthusiasm, wonder, and the zest of a lifelong learner. He is obviously fascinated by the poet's cultivation and nurturing of the language of life.
In this book, you will find 29 conversations with famous and not-so-famous poets along with many of their favorite poems. This is a treasure-trove for poetry lovers who will want to read and re-read the comments these poets have about their work, their lives, and their vision and understanding of the world.
Here is a sampler of provocative quotations about this popular art form:
• "Poetry is like bread — everybody shares it."
— Claribel Allegria
• "When you work at a poem long enough — if you just do that one poem and don't worry about anything else — then the imagery of one verse line exudes a sparkling fountain of energy that fills your spirit."
— Jimmy Santiago Baca
• "It's important that the words in your poems be those you could speak to your friends."
— Robert Bly
• "A poem is anything said in such a way, or put on the page in such a way, as to invite from the hearer or the reader a certain kind of attention."
— William Stafford
• "Poetry allows the human soul to speak."
— Carolyn Forche
• "Ultimately, a poem has an electrical force field which is love."
— Joy Harjo
• "Poetry is the most difficult, the most solitary, and the most life-enhancing thing that one can do in the world."
— Stanley Kunitz
• "Poetry can bring together those parts of us which exist in dread and those which have the surviving sense of a possible happiness, collectivity, community, a loss of isolation."
— Adrienne Rich
• "I think the mission of poetry is to create among people the possibility of wonder, admiration, enthusiasm, mystery, the sense that life is marvelous. When you say life is marvelous, you are saying a banality. But to make life a marvel — that is the role of poetry."
— Octavio Paz