Saturday morning and I switch the radio on to hear Kim Hill in scintillating conversation with poet Anna Jackson. The aim was to explore Anna’s new book Actions & Travels: How Poetry Works (AUP). The result is a warm, articulate and joyful celebration of poetry. I loved it so much, I Iistened again this morning.
In the new book, Anna takes around 100 poems and considers what she loves about them, what the poems are doing. Kim Hill was intrigued and delighted by the unexpected inhabitants in each chapter. I saw them as little neighbourhoods with surprising guests that shone renewed light on the chapter theme and upon poetry itself.
A few gold nuggets but you need to hear the whole conversation:
Anna: I was ‘cutting the landscapes of poetry in different directions to see what those combinations would bring out in each poem’.
Anna on younger poets and ‘what it does to poetry to be so current and alive and shared and important’: ‘Poetry is an urgent medium of conversation that takes place not only on the page and between readers and at readings, but on social media as well.’
Anna after reading Maggie Smith’s much shared ‘Good Bones’ on air: ‘That’s the wish of poetry … What can we salvage? What’s beautiful? What can we will ourselves to see as beautiful without turning away from what’s terrible? What we know is real?’
Kim: ‘Have you read George Saunder’s A Swim in a Pond in the Rain? I liked your book in the same way I liked his book.’
Anna: ‘The more poems you read, the more qualities you’ll be likely to recognise.’
Listen to conversation with Kim Hill here, Saturday Morning RNZ National
Poetry Shelf conversation with Anna Jackson
Auckland University Press page
Anna Jackson website