Saturday, October 29, 2011

Merwin Throws it Down

Here's a fascinating interview with poet W. S. Merwin in the Los Angeles Times:

But isn't technology supposed to be helpful?

Yes, but convenience seems to be the answer to why we do everything now. I can't believe it. That reminds me of something Czeslaw once said not to me but to [Milosz's wife] Carol. They were coming to stay with us on Maui, and our home isn't easy to find. It's a little remote, and you can't see it from the road. Czeslaw told Carol, "Wherever we go to see William, I know one thing. It's always going to be a little hard to get there, and there won't be many other places around it." It's true. All of the places I've ever loved in my life have been inconvenient, and that has been part of the beauty too, you know.

It's the same with poetry. What about the student who asks, "Why do we need to memorize a poem when we can find it on the Internet?" In other words, why should I have this experience when I can allow the computer to have it for me? That is one of the things that still makes me deeply suspicious.

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