The Contracted World: New & More Selected Poems (Pitt Poetry Series)

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Box , St. One day I was showing a client a house and making small talk. I asked him what he did for a living and he said he was a teacher at Mountain Lakes High School.

Peter Meinke

I left him on the spot, went there, applied for the job, and got it. It was not hard in those days — all the men were being drafted. Meinke with his wife, illustrator Jeanne Clark photo by Diane Cohen. I taught English for two years and liked the teaching, but had no time to write. So in , Jeanne and I took our two children and drove to Ann Arbor, with a small scholarship and no money.

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I got an M. During these years I wrote steadily, and began publishing in the little magazines. In , I was offered a job at a new school, Florida Presbyterian, which in became Eckerd College. I settled down into college teaching and writing poetry, and after a lengthy apprenticeship began publishing in magazines like The New Republic, Poetry and The Georgia Review. I finished second to Gary Soto , and they wrote back and said they really liked my manuscript — please try again the next year.

Meinke teaching at Eckerd College, Florida in the s. Meinke: I feel lucky. Somehow I was hooked on the sounds of poems. So I just got taught by the poets I read and memorized.

At first I sounded like Edgar Allen Poe and then maybe John Donne in college, and then gradually developed a kind of voice that readers have told me is a recognizable Meinke poem. Meinke: Usually a phrase comes into my head — it just pops in. And I usually carry around a notebook. I try to wait for phrases that come to me.

To be specific, between the peony and the rose plant squash and spinach, turnips and tomatoes; beauty is nectar and nectar, in a desert, saves— but the stomach craves stronger sustenance than the honied vine. Therefore, marry a pretty girl after seeing her mother; speak truth to one man, work with another; and always serve bread with your wine. But, son, always serve wine. Meinke at his writing desk on Dec. And then more small changes even from a book to a new edition of the book.

I do a lot of rewriting, and rewrite almost entirely for sound. We wear our neighborhood tavern like a pair of old pants:. Meinke: Poetry, at least in America, is probably our least popular form of writing.

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Philip Levine , our Poet Laureate, even claims that readings are bad for you. Writers shoot for easy laughs, sentimental or show-offy riffs, and it can ruin their poetry. I try to write not thinking particularly of an audience. Meinke: For a long time a lot of conversations and ideas were piling up in my head and in my notebooks. The next one is called Unheard Music , and that just came out a few years ago.

Sure signs : new and selected poems (Book, ) [chondstatbunling.tk]

In these essays, my idea was to smuggle poetry into newspaper readership. Petersburg, Florida. Meinke: Well, they expect me to partake in various events on the public level. For example, when the city had the twin anniversaries of the two St. Petersburgs, comparing them. They wanted me to celebrate all the parks in St.

Very sad — heartbreaking, actually. I read some of their poems, and gave them back with comments. I think it helped them to write it out and say out loud what happened to them, and why. Some of them had surprising outpourings of great patriotism, despite being here, down and out, getting beaten, robbed, raped, all kinds of disasters. And they write these poems about how they love America. It makes me go on the attack in a different way — to do better with the homeless. Peter Meinke at Lassing Park in St. Petersburg, Florida on Dec. The park inspired a poem of the same name. Lassing Park.

Where you been? Meinke reading at the Vinoy Hotel in St.

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Meinke: I think if poetry were presented better in the early schools, people could find out that they like it. Everything is fast, and poetry is slow. They have Twitter poems now. You have to change your mode when you read poetry.


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I think finding a poet you like, and taking a book of his or hers along on your vacation would be a great idea. And there are many poets like that. AM: If you were on a desert island and could only have three poets or books of poetry, who or what would they be? American poet Howard Nemerov His sister was the noted photographer Diane Arbus photo from nndb. Meinke: Of the twentieth century poets, the one that helped me the most was Howard Nemerov. I studied his poetry and eventually got to know him. He was a Pulitzer Prize-winner, and a terrific poet. He was funny and serious at the same time, and very smart.

He could also be very flexible about form. And there are lots of others.

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