Paul Hostovsky’s Comments

What can I say about these poems? I’m fond of them. I enjoyed writing them and maybe that’s the most important thing. It never gets better than that, does it? The pleasure, the feeling of writing, of being in the poem. That’s important for me to say, to remember, because after that it’s all downhill, isn’t it: the po’ biz of sending them out, like loved ones, with letters of introduction to speed them to glory in the “wars of the poems.” And they usually die on the front (desk of the sycophant assistant-to-the-assistant), and the notes read “sorry” that drape their faces... But these five here, someone cared enough to pick them up and dust them off, and here they are for your pleasure, looking just as I remember them. I wrote them over the last few months. I’ve been avoiding stanzas lately, just writing in a block down the page without any thought to stanza breaks or numbers of lines or any of that. It’s been freeing, really. I like to combine a colloquial storytelling voice with line breaks that keep you and me on our toes. I enjoy humor. I “delight” better than I “instruct.” But I struggle sometimes with being too glib, too light. I try to let imagination win out over didacticism. I like music in my poems, and I like the music of the real names in my poems. “Imaginary gardens with real toads in them.” Sometimes, though, amazingly, the poems fall into the hands of the people whose real names are in my poems, and then I have some explaining to do. I tell them “imagination is memory.” Then I tell them that I didn’t make that up, that I got it from James Joyce. But that doesn’t impress them, and they usually stay pissed off for a long time. But the poems outlive them.