Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Jab with Twenty

An interesting and entertaining, albeit chaotic, unedited and ill-transcribed interview with one of my favourite living poets, Peter Van Toorn. Very flattered to see Peter speaking highly of my essay on his work, even if I become "Zachary Weld" and the essay's title morphs from "Jabbed with Plenty" to "Jab with Twenty"!

I can't urge you strongly enough to read his opus magnum, Mountain Tea. One of the best books of poetry published in the last century. Some poems from it are reprinted as accompaniment to the interview.

UPDATE: I had the pleasure once of talking on the phone with Peter Van Toorn and, as Mr. Ede says in the comments field of this post, the interview is extremely faithful to what a conversation with Peter is actually like. Which is something I appreciate in the interview, its warts-n-all immediacy, up to and including the errors in my name and the title of the essay. The adjectives I apply to the interview are merely descriptive, not censorious. The errors and confusions are part of what make the interview interesting and entertaining.


rob taylor said...


content aside, a terrible interview, but i quite liked the poems. i'll hunt around for the collection, and hopefully find it...

esuodara said...

Terrible interview? I beg to differ. I transcribed the interview with the idea of leaving its raw edges, no doctoring. largely unedited, yes. It is deliberately so - to recreate the conditions under which the interview took place. No other interview is like it on sentinel. if, on the other hand, a book where to be made out of the interviews, then the wrinkles would be taken out. But having said that, i apologise for getting 'Zachariah Wells' as 'Zachary Weld', and Jabbed with plenty as 'Jab with Twenty'. Peter and I had accoustic problems in conversing over the phone. These and one other structural error i noted will be corrected in a day or two. you can compare any other interview on sentinel and see the difference. But i partuclarly like the 'uncut-ness' of Peter's speech. It is very candid like what he had to say. "umm-ummh!"

Amatoritsero Ede

Blogmaster said...

Hello Zachariah,

Just to let you know that you are no longer Zachary Weld in the Toorn interview. I took time out this morning to correct the sections Ama sent to me. Peter Van Toorn is a beautiful poet, and the interview is not that bad. I do agree that it might have done with some more editing, but the interviewer intended it to be published 'as is'. Nice blog by the way.

Nnorom Azuonye

Alex said...

Did he shave and put on a shirt for the interview?

Jeezis Zach, where the hell did you get that picture?

Of course you don't have to say if it's embarrassing . . .