Questions and Answers
What inspired “Summer 1964. Mexico”?
In 1958 I started keeping a diary. In 1978 someone gave me a beautiful Italian hardback notebook. In 1988 I started writing poems based on pages in my diary. I did them in random order. I limited the dates, scrupulously, to the equinoxes and solstices. I averaged one poem a month for ten years, finishing the book in 1998. There are lots of cross references.
What poetic techniques did you use in “Summer 1964. Mexico”?
Well, in addition to the above? Instead of calling the book My Life, which I could not do because Lynn Hejinian had already used that title for her book of poetry, I called it His Life, thus freeing myself from the threat of what Olson called “sprawl.” In addition to the cross-references, poem to poem, there are italicized quotations from the poems of HD. They rub against my words, thus in yet another way helping me to resist expression. Each page names the date of the diary entry and the city in which it was written.