Michael Klein—One World Falls Into The Other: When Poetry Makes Prose

Heimbold Visual Arts Center Donnelley Film Theatre

Open to the public

/ Wednesday


Gary Snyder was once asked what the difference was between poetry and prose.  His answer:  "You can't force poetry".  Is his implication then, that prose is a more self-conscious form of sentence making?  I don't necessarily agree with Snyder's assessmentparticularly when it comes to resultswhich for me mean nothing less than creating writing that records the engagement with the beauty and terrible beauty of the worldevident in people, in animals, in inner living, in disease, in adversity, in redemption and when praise lifts up the object of desire.

I will be talking about how I decide which are poems and which are essays or something that might be a book-length memoir and how the elements of poetry are used and reshaped in a way that can create something surprising and newnot a hybrid text, per sealthough there are writers who do this wonderfully wellbut something in prose that can be as moving and lyrical as poetry can be.  And so, I will be referring to how I work as well as citing a few examples of poets who are as revelatory in their poems as they are in that other thing they may very well be forcing themselves to write.

Michael Klein has written four books of poemsthe latest, which is actually poems and some prose, being When I Was a Twin.  There are also two works of autobiography:  Track Conditions about life on the racetrack with a Kentucky Derby winning horse; and The End of Being Known, a book of linked essays about sex and friendship. New poems in the current The Literary Review, and he is working on a book length essay called An Imaginary Life:  Radical Loneliness. He teaches at Goddard College in Vermont and Hunter College in New York City, where he lives.