We at The Conversant delight in the prospect of spring and celebrating the end of winter. Winter brought its share of snow and Louis MacNeice’s poem “Snow” reminds us that the poetry world is “incorrigibly various” and that “the drunkenness of things being various” is a sublime intoxication. In this spirit, Eric Hoffman has brought forth two very different volumes, By the Hours: Selected Poems, Early and Uncollected, and a critical biography of George Oppen, Oppen: A Narrative. This interview focuses on these two recent publications. –Jon Curley
Jon Curley: Your most recent poetry collection, By the Hours: Selected Poems Early & Uncollected, carries an epigram from Emerson beginning: “Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth…” I was struck by how that affirmation also underscores a distance, the seeking of, the remoteness from perfection and the need, in life as in poetry, to use vocation as a testing device. Would this interpretation gibe with your sense of your poetic exploration?