Mark Strand (April 11, 1934 – November 29, 2014) was a Canadian-born American poet, essayist and translator. He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1990 and received the Wallace Stevens Award in 2004. Strand was a professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University from 2005 until his death in 2014.
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In a field
I am the absence
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.
When I walk
I part the air
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.
We all have reasons
to keep things whole.
- "Keeping Things Whole" (1969)
Paris Review Interview (1998)
- Interview with Wallace Shawn in New York, pub. 'Mark Strand: The Art of Poetry no 77', Paris Review, no. 148 (Fall 1998)
- A poem releases itself, it does it with cadence.
- I don't know where it comes from. I think some of it comes from the unconscious. Sometimes it is more complete than other times.
- I think a poet's focus is not quite what a prose writer's is, it's not entirely on the world outside. It's fixed on the area where the inside meets the outside, where the poet's sensibility meets the weather, meets the street, meets other people... that shadow land between self and reality.
- The elements I need to write are a place, a desk, a familiar room. I need some of my books there, I need quiet. ... I'm picturing as I'm writing. I'm putting together what I need to have this thing alive.
- I delay typing as long as possible. When I read a poem in longhand I'm hearing it, when in typescript I'm reading it. A poem can appear finished just because of the cleanness of the typescript.