When asked to blog this month, I went back to see what I’d been blogging about last year and in previous years. I was perturbed, at first, to find that my concerns of previous posts—what can poetry do? what do I want my poetry to do? what does it mean to write an occasional poem at this point in history? are all poems occasional? how can I live “mindfully” in the present but not live too much in my very full mind? how can I write more overtly political poems, more socially meaningful poems?—still preoccupy me today. Either I have a tendency to perseverate or these are complex questions—maybe both. This constellation of questions, I notice, has to do with time which leads me to this question I’ve started asking at every post-poetry reading Q & A and to any poet gracious enough to take the time to answer it.

Is it more important to you that your poems be timeless or timely and why?

I invite any Harriet bloggers who feel like answering my question to post a response, and I’ll be posting the responses of poets I’ve asked as well as my own thoughts about this question.

Originally Published: April 1st, 2011

Poet and educator Rachel Zucker was born in New York and grew up in Greenwich Village, the daughter of novelist Benjamin Zucker and storyteller Diane Wolkstein. She earned her BA at Yale University and her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.   Zucker’s expansive yet lyrical poems interrogate and deftly...