As I wound my way through Eavan Boland’s “Islands Apart: A Notebook” [May 2008], in which she writes of the increasingly skill-based nature of poets, I was surprised to find this:
But there is always a fraction—even if it’s just a small minority—of poets out in the world who don’t want to do any of these things. If there’s a conversation, they’re having it with themselves, with their own poems. They don’t want to extend it, share it, structure it. They are private, inward, and disassociated from the skills on offer or in demand.
I am one of those poets. By some unexpected combination of good fortune, shrewd and fortuitous planning, and a willingness to live below the radar of the dominant