An Interview by Loring Williams
This interview originally took place in Cleveland during a session of the Ohio Poetry Society on November 26, 1960. A version of it was subsequently published in a study guide, Freshman Composition and Literature, issued by the State University of New York in 1974 and reprinted in The Public Poet by the Ashland Poetry Press in 1991. At the time of the interview Loring Williams was one of a three-person panel which sat to choose those books of poetry which were to be published as selections of the Book Club for Poetry. The Book Club had chosen as a 1960 selection Lewis Turco's First Poems, which had appeared during the previous summer. Williams was also the editor of his own American Weave Press which subsequently, in 1962, would bring out Turco's The Sketches as an American Weave Award chapbook. Turco had come to Cleveland, coincidentally, to teach at Fenn College [later to become Cleveland State University] only two months before, in September, from the University of Iowa.
Williams. Mr. Turco, on behalf of the Ohio Poetry Society, let me welcome you to Cleveland. We are happy to have you with us.
Turco. Thank you, Mr. Williams. I'm very happy to be here.
Williams. You are beginning a new job here at Fenn College as a teacher, but what is the poet's job?
Turco. The poet's job is to "fix" this world.
Williams. Fix it? You mean, to repair it?