<Previous      Next>
Transom:
American poets tend to take Pound’s dictum to “make it new” as a foundational principle, and as a result many of us have a short literary memory. The poetic culture in the UK seems far more conscious of the legacy of centuries of predecessors. What are the pleasures and challenges of contributing your voice to this chorus?

Waldron:
American poetry of the last hundred years strikes me as being at least equally influenced by those centuries of predecessors, and Pound was certainly conscious of the legacy and didn’t see it as something to be ignored. He believed we admired Shakespeare above Chaucer because we’d been seduced by the glamour (excuse my u) of theatre. I do want my poetry to have a theatrical element and to be populated by characters with different voices so perhaps that’s a way in which I feel linked to that aspect of the past.

Transom:
What’s happening now in the UK poetry scene that you find particularly exciting – or frustrating?

Waldron:
What’s frustrating in the UK poetry scene is that too much of the poetry that’s admired is like the equivalent of nice watercolours. What’s exciting is that I think that might be starting to change.

Transom:
We admire the incredible playfulness of your poems, the way the speaker is able to don “huge human clothes” to play the part of “a cocky prince.” Is your ideal poetic speaker a kind of shapeshifter who can inhabit divergent lexicons?

Waldron:
A poet once asked me why I don’t write about myself. I thought that was a bizarre question because I regard everything I write as being about me. It’s just that I might dress up as a dog or a prince or a hydrofoil or a stone before I embark on a poem. I do like populating what I write with characters and voices with which I can confront different concerns of mine, or rather characters and voices with which I can confront the same few concerns from different angles. I can sidle up to myself and catch myself with my guard down if I’m dressed up as a puppet (or whatever).