Excerpted Criticism

Explicit permission given

Mark K. Anderson: An Interview with Martín Espada

MARK ANDERSON: Tell me about the connections for you between the law and poetry.

What's your legal background?

You write of legal language often being used "not to clarify but to control." That would be, from most people's perspective, the definition of all legal language. Look at President Clinton's recent testimony: the epitome of evasion.

What are the problems and issues raised when you bring in a second language--in this case, Spanish? How does that complicate matters both in regards to poetry as law and law as poetry?

From Z Magazine. (December 1998).

Sarah Browning: Interview with Martín Espada

DSS Dream

I dreamed the Department of Social Services came to the door and said: "We understand you have a baby, a goat, and a pig living here in a two-room apartment. This is illegal. We have to take the baby away, unless you eat the goat."

"The pig's OK?" I asked. "The pig's OK," they said.

-- Martín Espada

from Valley Advocate   (Nov. 18, 1993). Copyright © 1998 by New Media, Inc. Online Source

Steven Ratiner: Interview with Martín Espada

Hunched over the podium, Martin Espada is an imposing presence, a grizzly bear of a man with dark eyes that devour the page. His poems are, by turns, ferocious, tender, ardently political, or touchingly biographical. But in between the poems, when he tells stories about his writing and his life, the audience is caught off-guard by his playful and self-deprecating humor. There is a largeness of feeling in the man, and we are willingly snared in the net of his words.

Copyright © 2000 The Christian Science Publishing Society. Reprinted with permission of Martìn Espada.

Katie Bolick: Interview with Mark Doty

Bolick: In the book [Firebird] you write about your "education in beauty," beginning with your sister's tantalizing drawer of shiny trinkets: crepe and tulle, glittery ribbons, "scraps of sheer and sparkled treasure." Could you talk about what beauty meant to you as a child  How has your relationship to beauty and artifice changed over time?

from "Fallen Beauty" in Atlantic Unbound -- http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/interviews/ba991110.htm

Mark Wunderlich: Interview with Mark Doty

Mark Wunderlich: In an article you published in the Hungry Mind Review about your experience as a judge for the Lenore Marshall Prize, you discussed your hopes for the future of American Poetry. I'm wondering if you could talk a little more about that. Also, and this may be impossible to answer, but I'm curious to know what vision you have for the future of your own work? What are your current ambitions?

from The Cortland Review (December 1998). Online Source: http://www.cortlandreview.com/features/dec98/index2.html

Mark Doty: "Souls on Ice"

In the Stop 'n Shop in Orleans, Massachusetts, I was struck by the elegance of the mackerel in the fresh-fish display. They were rowed and stacked, brilliant against the white of the crushed ice; I loved how black and glistening the bands of dark scales were, and the prismed sheen of the patches between, and their shining flat eyes. I stood and looked at them for a while, just paying attention while I leaned on my cart--before I remembered where I was and realized that I was standing in someone's way.

From Introspections: Contemporary American Poets on One of Their Own Poems, ed. Robert Pack and Jay Parini. Middlebury College Press. Copyright © 1997 by Mark Doty.

Mark Doty: "Here in Hell"

Professor Bloom reminds us of the origins of the term aesthetic in "perceptiveness"; what we make of his argument depends on just what we think "perceptiveness" means. Bloom wants to place the aesthetic in a kind of pure realm, free of social or historical pressures--in paradise, as it were, where perennial, indelible values rule: harmony, order, the subtle, infinitely pleasing, endlessly varied shadings of meaning made by the artful arrangement of words. I'm reminded of a statement of Auden's, who wrote that a poem should be "a verbal earthly paradise, a timeless world of pure

Copyright Boston Review, 1993-2000

Online Source: http://v2.bostonreview.net/poetry/mark-doty-here-hell

Reprinted with the permission of the author