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Time, for DA Powell

By Rachel Zucker

DA Powell: Every sentence written in English contains some anxiety about time. I’d love to write a poem that was Time-Free. Is that possible?

ME: Why? Is this particular to English?

DA: I don’t think English is necessarily the only language in which time is embedded in the verbs. But I know that in Mandarin it’s easy to make a sentence that doesn’t tell you at what time things happened. And I wish that were possible in English. A sentence in English begins and ends; it has direction; it carries you, relentlessly, toward a period, a place of death. It’s why I avoided sentences for so long in my poems–because I didn’t want to feel like I was living out a sentence. Now, it appears as if that troubles me less. I can’t think why. Except perhaps I have a deeper sense of purpose. But why would I have that? All I’ve done is write a few poems, which is a deeply unpurposive pursuit (if done correctly).

Having lunch with DA at Barney Greengrass recently (Philip Roth was sitting two tables away from us, eating lox, eggs and onions and reading the paper).


Posted in Uncategorized on Tuesday, April 19th, 2011 by Rachel Zucker.