Paris Review Interview
Carl Phillips, The Art of Poetry No. 103
Issue no. 228 (Spring 2019)
I tell people, especially if I’m giving a reading, it’s okay to let the words wash over them, the way one experiences abstract art. I’m not trained in visual art. I often see things in a museum and don’t know what to make of them, but I still have an experience, a response to what I can see. Likewise, I don’t think poems have to have easy translation. I believe strongly in emotional and psychological narratives. I think of many of my poems as emotional gestures. Context isn’t always essential—or maybe it’s that I resist context as an absolute. I like what happens when context begins to wobble a bit.
words wash over … emotional gestures … wobble a bit.
And so for day 2797