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LINDENBERG: Well, on one hand, it has to do with a kind of idiosyncratic exuberance, a kind of unapologetic bigness. The language of the poetry workshop and the language of contemporary poetry generally is riddled with terms like “restraint” and “contained” and “earn” and “at stake”—language having to do with reduction or transaction, as if you had to bargain and haggle to make a poem, or you had to compress the world to get it to fit in the poem. And the truth is I’ve never even really understood what those terms mean, but I do always feel a bit hemmed in by them. And I don’t think you can write very ambitious poems feeling that way. I feel better when, instead of trying to be faithful to a set of poetic conventions, I’m trying to be faithful to the occasion and nature of the poem or, better yet, to the world that occasioned it. If I could write a map of the world the size of the world, I would feel great about it.

McSWEENEY’S: Might be predictable but… what are you working on next?

LINDENBERG: A map of the world the size of the world. Seriously.

– – –

Rebecca Lindenberg in conversation with McSweeney’s

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