The poems that I like best are the poems in which something happens. You go through to the end and you ask what was that about, and then you go back over it and have another look at it. There has to be enough stuff on the surface to hold your attention, and you can do that with lots of different things, with imagery, or sound, or whatever you want. But then there has to be an element of worrying at the poem until you get something from it. Something draws clear, something very small perhaps is clarified in it. That’s how the best poetry works, I think….there are some poems that I thought I knew well which are still coming clear to me now. There are lots of different things going on in good poems, and you can live with a poem for years and then suddenly think, ah, that’s what that’s about. I think that’s a good thing. If you instantly think you’ve got all that a poem offers, either it’s not a very good poem or you’ve made a mistake.
The above is from an interview with Nick Laird which will appear in the spring issue of The Stinging Fly.
The issue will also have new poems from Laird and from Eamon Grennan, Paula Meehan, Christine Broe, Mary O'Donnell, Mark Roper, Ron Houchin, Billy Ramsell, Alan Jude Moore and Oliver Dunne, and features translations of Mexican poet Pura Lopez Colome by Lorna Shaughnessy. There are also stories by Colm Liddy, Gillman Noonan, Ross O'Connor, Kusi Okamura and Aiden O'Reilly.
The Cat Flap always knew Dublin was a dangerous class of a place where a smack in the gob or a knife in the back were among the rewards of art, and he’s glad to have this confirmed by Nick Laird. The poet recently reviewed the collected Kavanagh in the London Review of Books and was less than whelmed: ‘He’s an incredibly important poet. But I also think if you had to sit down and read through that Collected Poems, you would be irritated and bored by a lot of it.’ After the review appeared ‘Brendan Barrington [editor, The Dublin Review] e-mailed me to say that he agreed with me but that he didn’t think I should come to Dublin for a while.’ Oh, a dangerous place indeed. The Cat Flap has long since taken to wearing dark glasses as he prowls the town.
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