Talking in Tranquility: Interviews with Ted Berrigan edited by Stephen Ratcliffe and Leslie Scalapino (published with O Books) 208 pages ISBN 0-939691-05-1 $10.50
Talking in Tranquility presents ten interviews conducted with the poet Ted Berrigan between 1970 and 1980. Talking with a range of fellow poets and writers (Clark Coolidge, George Oppen, George MacBeth, Tom Clark, Charles Ingham, Barry Alpert, and Anne Waldman, among others) in New York, London, Chicago, San Francisco, Boulder, and elsewhere, Berrigan speaks with an illuminating and disarming candor about a wide range of topics: the art and craft of poetry, his own work, his methods of composition in books such as The Sonnets and in many specific poems (including various collaborative writings with other poets and painters), his relations with and influence by and upon other writers and/or painters in the New York cultural "scene in the 1960's and 1970's (Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, and Allen Ginsberg, among the writers; as well as the painters Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Jackson Pollock, Philip Guston, etc.). Whatever the subject, Berrigan invariably shoots from the hip straight for the mark: "Sometimes I hear my words before they get to my lips, and if I don't like them I change them before they get out." The result is an important, and wonderfully entertaining, account of the mind-at-work of one of this country's most important contemporary poets.
"And now I am going to deliver to you what I think about everything, and what I have been thinking all the time, and what I've been thinking which made me write."
-- Ted Berrigan
"You will hear his wild tremulous wistful reflective engaging way of saying it in any work of his that you read or hear."
-- Robert Creeley
"At a time when a great many poets seem certain that, individually, they have the only answer, the only way to do things, when commuynication is often at some level antogonistic and presemptuous, it is particularly important to hear someone whose point was never to dictate the way other poets should do their work. . . . Talking in Tranquility . . . is for me as important as anything that can be said about poetry now."
-- Ed Foster
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