He teaches at
“The conference was held in a compound in the woods up slope from
Middlebury Collegein . Medora and I didn't have much money, so to save on coin we didn't lodge at the conference center but in a tent in a nearby campground, primitive living for three weeks. I was in an agitated state of mind. I imagined myself a prisoner going up before a one-man parole board -- John Gardner. Vermont
I didn't like the scene at the conference center. It was too much like a summer camp for adults with tennis courts and cocktail hours and schedules and a hierarchy that consisted of published writers, darned-near published writers, wait persons; at the bottom were myself and the other wanna-be's who had paid money to get in. The weather was sunny, the people civil, the talk gossipy, full of good humor, subtle irony, even joy. I would have preferred dark skies, austere surroundings, and serious conversation.
I particularly hated seeing other conferees enjoying themselves. In particular, I hated Poet Mark Strand. He was six feet six, handsome, kind, warm; he played tennis in white shorts and beautiful women fawned over him. I would have hated him less if he'd been a mediocre writer, but his poems were beautiful and insightful.
The daily workshops, nightly readings and lectures put me on edge. I went out of my way not to listen. I was hanging around for one reason -- my impending conference with
He was clearly the number one pooh-bah here, even bigger than Mark Strand.”
The name, Mark Strand stayed with me, but since I didn’t read or write poetry, I never bothered to find out who he was.
A couple of weeks ago I got my monthly newsletter from Lighthouse Writers Workshop and in May, there will be a Writer's Studio event with former US Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winner, Mark Strand. Aha. This was a message meant just for me. I did a search on Mark Strand to learn more about him and found this essay he wrote on the Poetry in the World. If anything appeals to me, it’s the idea of a “serious” poet with a sense of humor. In the essay,
“Days went by. I wrote nothing. I began to think that I should come up with yet another title, but I knew that I'd be giving in to a weakness I had for reduction, that were I to let myself go, I might end up with a title like "A Couple of Words in Space" or "A Syllable in the Woods." In other words, the less inclusive the title, the less I would feel obligated to say anything. But I also knew that without the obligation to speak, I might remain silent. A silent lecture! The ultimate reduction! But, alas, beyond my ability to perform. I decided to stick with ‘Poetry in the World’.”
The rest is here and is excellent.
From Hebert in