An Interview by Gregory Fitzgerald and Jack C. Wolf
Lewis Turco, photo by William Stafford, circa 1979
This interview took place in Brockport, New York, at the SUNY campus there on September 27, 1979, as part of the Writers' Forum series. Mr. Turco was on campus in his capacity as a Faculty Exchange Scholar of the State University of New York, and it was his second appearance in the Forum, the first having taken place almost eleven years earlier. Nevertheless, this interview began where the first left off — with a reading of "Awaken, Bells Falling."
AWAKEN, BELLS FALLING
It is a dawn quick as swallows
peeling to shear through peals belled
from the one town steeple. Autumn
falls from green heat like a chestnut felled
out of its prickly jacket. A single
jay walks in the pines. A cone of
cold sweeps chill's needles soughing
through the day's screen doors. There can be
no cushioning today: to wake
shall be a sharp thing. The person on his
private ticking will be palsied
from his sheets, his numeral
be rung, the coils of consciousness
spring him into good woolen light,
without armament, to meet himself in
mirrors and still halls. Meet himself —
find his blood walking a thin
line, alarums unsleeping him.
Brazen as flame leaving ash for
the elm's sere leaf, autumn will have settled
into summer's pallet — patchwork
and quilting: that poor thread of
dreams curling at the doorsill. It
is done, the keen tone spoken, wrung
out of the bronze tongue of silence. Winter;
allcolor; whiteness. Who will braid
our years now into what skein
of circles? Bells fail in the streets;
the hall empties us into ice,
sheeted, sheer as mirrors, unreflecting.
Fitzgerald. Welcome, Lew, it's been eleven years since you were last a guest of the Forum. In that time, can you tell us what changes have occurred in your work?
Turco. I doubt I can say in so many words that specific changes have taken place, because there tend to be large changes in my work from book to book. Often the changes will be technical, and I'm not sure that, if I were a critic, I could sit back and say, Well, here's a nice neat line of development. I tend to jump around — if I get into a certain subject or a certain set of techniques, then I'll write a whole book using them, and it might be quite different from the last thing I'd done.
Fitzgerald. Bill Heyen wrote an essay on some changes that he felt occurred in your work, from First Poems in 1960 to Awaken, Bells Falling in 1968.
Turco. Yes, that's quite true, it was the first big change, from rhymed accentual-syllabics to unrhymed syllabics. I haven't done much with traditionally lyric poems since then.
Wolf. With reference to changes after Awaken, Bells Falling, — there was a review of that book in The Virginia Quarterly Review, and I'd like to read a little bit of it. It says of you, "His view is quiet and dark. He accepts rather than affirms; acknowledges rather than celebrates. If death too often overshadows life, and pain, life's joys, nevertheless Lewis Turco finds his singing voice in suffering; finds reason to live and love in despair." Aside from ambiguity in that last statement, do you feel that that was a fair remark?
Turco. I remember that, and I feel it was amazingly accurate [laughter]. No, I think that's probably a reasonable synopsis of my overall emotional development, shall I call it? Yeah, I had a book turned down on the grounds that it was a good book, but the editor didn't want to read it twice, it was too dark, and that led me to think, for the first time since the Virginia Quarterly Review piece, that maybe I ought to write happier poems, I don't know [more laughter].
Fitzgerald. You've taken the position that intelligence is an important component in poetry as distinguished from "instinct." Would you comment on that?
Turco. I'm always amazed when I run into someone who takes the position that it's the unconscious mind that writes the poem. It is not. It is the conscious mind that writes the poems. The material with which the conscious mind works is of two kinds; first, there's language, which is a convention — no one is born knowing a language — one has to learn it; therefore, one might as well learn how to use it well. The more you know how to do, the more you can do, is my feeling.
Last night after the reading one of the students asked me whether I know when some particular thing is taking place in a poem, like a time sequence, for instance — as I recall the question had to do with the "Albums" poem that was printed in the program. Now that's the kind of thing I mean when I say the unconscious is the material of the poem: I was conscious of what I was doing in the composition of the poem — I knew I was writing metaphors and sounds and so forth, but I wasn't particularly conscious that I was making time — which is one of the things I'm most concerned with in my work — reverse itself, flip back upon itself in "Albums."
You know, we have our underview, I suppose I might call it, which is not conscious, and it is this underview that surfaces during the writing act. But the writing act itself is conscious. What you're doing with language is conscious, though not necessarily what's appearing through language.
Fitzgerald. In an essay titled "Sympathetic Magic" in Bill Heyen's anthology American Poets in 1976 [and collected in Turco's Visions and Revisions of American Poetry, 1986], you take pains to quote Arthur Koestler on the brain, and I think there's an interesting relationship to what you've just been saying here. I wonder if you'd be willing to discuss how you see poetry in relationship to the three types of brain contained in the human skull.
Turco. This is Koestler talking now, I'm just paraphrasing. He says there are two lower brains, reptilian and mammalian, which together are called the hypothalamus, and the specifically human upper brain or "thinking cap" called the neo-cortex. Koestler quotes another scientist, Paul D. MacLean, to the effect that the logical neo-cortex developed so fast during the course of evolution that it sort of sits up on top of these lower brains and actually doesn't have many connections with them. As a result the thinking brain, which is without feelings (feelings are the province of the middle brain), looks at a dead animal and says, "This horse is dead"; then it looks somewhere else and says, "This bird is dead," and "This cow is dead. Therefore, since I am mortal like these animals, I, too, will die." This is purely deductive reasoning, and the neo-cortex is impassive about the subject. But the lower brain perceives this situation as a threat to its existence, and its instinct is to react to the threat defensively. Suddenly, the human being begins to experience fear, even perhaps to become desperate. Now what does the upper brain do? Well, one of the things it can do, I think (and so does Koestler), is to write poetry in an attempt to allay the fears and terrors and anxieties of the lower brain. Unfortunately, as I said, there don't appear to be many connections between the upper brain and the lower brain, so most communication between them is from the lower brain to the upper, not the reverse, because the lower brain does not understand conscious symbology, words; it understands only situations and images. To put it another way, the upper brain is aware of the feelings of the lower brain, but the lower brain is not aware of the thoughts of the upper brain.
Fitzgerald. So it follows that the lower brain doesn't write any poetry.
Turco. Correct, but it provides the material of poetry, or of any other art, or of religion, as Koestler pointed out.
Wolf. This seems to underlie your statement that you seem to have been born a formalist.
Turco. Yes. This is something that I can't quite explain. People have, on the one hand, chastised me for being overly formal, interested in the traditional forms and techniques of poetry and recommending that young writers learn all they can about this language of ours and its constructs. On the other hand, I've been praised for the same qualities.
All sorts of poets approach me and say that they thumb through The Book of Forms all the time and use it. Some of the Beat poets have told me the same thing, Michael McClure, for instance, which amazed me. But I just happen to be interested in forms, and I can be "inspired," if you want to use that word, to write because I run across a new technique that I want to try out. Sometimes that new technique will work into a poem that I think is a good poem.
Wolf. There are a lot of Greek forms in The Book of Forms which aren't really applicable to the English language.
Turco. But people have been trying to use them in English for centuries, and they're good for exercises. Sometimes you'll find that a poet can actually make one work.
Wolf. But when you speak about "formalism" you're not really concerned narrowly about traditional formalism.
Turco, No. Most people think what I mean when I talk about formalism is this traditional sonneteer stuff, you know, but the fact is that every element of language is formal, from syllables to the most complicated grammatical structures. I have never understood the phrase "native language," because no one is born knowing a language, it must be learned, and the more you learn about it, the better you can do with it.
Wolf. Actually, I think that, in a way, your broad concept of formalism is pretty much what Pound had in mind when he said that "form is the limit of energy."
Turco. Well, I'm not sure quite what that means, but Pound and I are certainly on the same wave-length. I think he's one of the most wonderful poets of the twentieth century and would have been even better if he hadn't taken so much time out from writing to further the careers of other poets, including the editing of T. S. Eliot's "The Waste Land," and turning it into a good poem. I think people will be mining Ezra Pound's scintillating mind and his experiments for many years to come.
Wolf. But I think that he's getting at something there, in that quote, that underlies what I can conceive of as entering your essays and now your own view, and that is that when he put that out as part of the Vorticist manifesto the concept seemed to be almost analogous to an electric light — you have a broad network of electrical energy underlying everything. When you the poet flick the switch the light turns on for a given time, and then you turn it off and that moment of light is illumination, like the poem, which is the limit of that flow of energy within a definite form — it's restricted, it's shaped, and then it's over and it goes out. It seems to be the "nodular production," if you will, the culmination of an energy flow, and that seems to me to be analogous to what you have in mind.
Turco. I think that's pretty close to what I'm trying to say. If you know enough to be able to do what you are capable of doing, then the chances are that you'll be able to bring it off. But if you don't know enough, then you'll have to trust to luck. I don't think luck is a reliable handmaiden of the arts.
Fitzgerald. That seems, though, to come out of this notion that there is somehow a "divine inspiration" connected with poetry.
Turco. You know, there may be, Greg, but I'm not sure. Jones Very, a nineteenth century American poet who wrote thin sonnets, believed that God whispered those sonnets into his ear. I must say it seems strange to me that God would be such a lackluster sonneteer. One might be inspired if one can have "visions" like Jones Very, but in the absence of a visionary experience — and I have not had what I would consider to be such an experience, although I do believe that some people do have them — one must substitute something else. I guess what I substitute is high energy, to follow out Jack's thought.
"Inspiration" means breathing in the "divine afflatus", but I've heard other definitions of inspiration, and I think maybe the kids have the best one — getting "turned on." Auden put it differently, but he meant the same thing — if a person gets turned on to words, he or she has a shot at becoming a poet.
Fitzgerald. The point is that when you get turned on it's nice to have the equipment to make something of the condition.
Turco. That's right.
Fitzgerald. "God helps those who help themselves," to use an old saw that seems appropriate in this context.
Turco. If God will hand you a sonnet, great! But not everybody can be Jones Very or would want to be, I should think.
Wolf. I'd like to go back briefly to some of the earlier statements here in The Virginia Quarterly about the almost negative quality of some of your early verse. I noticed at your reading last night, and again while you were reading "Awaken, Bells Falling" here, that you do have a tendency to use a large number of negative words — "chill" and "fall" and so forth — to describe the dark side of things. But I also noticed in The Inhabitant that many of your poems are about human "products" without the human "presence," in a way. Do you feel that there is a development here, or do you feel it's just a continuation on the same poetic level, more or less?
Turco. Now that you bring it up — I hadn't thought of this, but I was going to read some poems last night that I didn't read, from an unpublished manuscript called American Still Lifes . As I was going through the reading I felt I didn't have time, so I skipped them entirely. In The Inhabitant a man is wandering around his house, which is rather Victorian, trying to rediscover himself in middle age, redefine himself and go on from there, and, as you say, he does this in and through objects, When he's in a room that room tends to define him — the living room defines him in one way, the bedroom in another, though there's a continuity, and the objects on which he focuses in the room help to define him also. I was asked, as a matter of fact, if I were a solipsist.
Wolf. I can see why the question was asked, but I don't see that it helps explain anything.
Turco. Well, I think it's kind of an interesting question, because the poems in American Still Lifes go even further in the direction of concentrating on objects and places. Let me read one or two. I didn't know that I was doing this at first — again, that unconscious thing — but do you remember the Roanoke Colony in the late sixteenth century? When the relief expedition finally arrived from England they found the colony abandoned. Every sign was that there had been no violence, there was still smoke curling out of the blacksmith shop, but there were no signs of life except that there was the one-word message "Croatoan" carved on a post.
Wolf. There's a story on that by Harlan Ellison.
Turco. Anyway, the idea of showing up and finding this colony, this fort abandoned interested me, and I wondered what it would be like if I wrote a series of poems in which there were no people. Each poem would have to do with a place, and each place would appear to have been abandoned just then, just before the observer came onto the scene, or the place had not filled yet with people.
Wolf. The idea calls to mind the paintings of Andrew Wyeth, where you have the window with the curtains blowing in, and you know someone was either just there or just coming, but they're not quite in the frame yet.
Turco. You're bringing up a lot of things — I started another series that took off from an Edward Hopper painting that gave me the idea — you know "The Nighthawks"? It's a drugstore or a lunch counter in the middle of the night, and everything is dark — but that's another story. This is the first poem after the prologue from American Still Lifes. It's called "The Colony" :
Rising out of the summer woods
there is a column of smoke
beginning to fade into the sky where,
now and then, a tern or oriole
stitches stillness with a call
and emptiness with a curve of plumage.
The palisade stands open.
The living quarters yawn shadow
into the heat. The fires are cold,
their ash white and fine as snow
on the bare places in the grass.
The blacksmith's tongs lie where they were left;
a water barrel has rolled,
dry as the August wind,
into a corner of the compound.
The woods stand close,
but in them there is no echo --
only the needle rustle of the pines.
The bark on the log paling
has not begun to show moss,
but one of the chief trees or posts
at the right side of the entrance
has the bark taken off,
and five feet from the ground
in fair capital letters is graven
CROATOAN without any cross
or sign of distress.
The last seven lines of that poem are a close paraphrase of a section of the journal of one of the would-be rescuers. If I may, I'd like to read one later poem also, a more twentieth century poem, in which there is the same kind of scene; it's someplace like Oklahoma during the Depression, and it's titled
In the morning there is the east wind
carrying dust the color
of a darker sun
past the silo and the cribs.
At dead noon there is a pause.
The land bakes into its ruts and rows.
Then again the wind blows,
now from the west, taking soil back
over the cupola with its rusting cock,
past the screen porch, its door swinging.
The horned toads clamber into rock.
In the evening the house settles
down into the red dark.
The plains and fields crool
beneath the windows' oblongs of light.
When even the echoes of echoes cease,
there is a strange sound
like wet things sliding:
the ghost of a comber, a slimming off,
then again a comber.
From far back and down deep
there is the scent of salt
and a falling off from the silent edge.
Here again I'm concentrating on objects, on things that are man-made but unused at the moment.
Wolf. I'm glad you read those because this answers the question for me. These remind me somehow of Williams' "The Red Wheel Barrow" on which "So much depends." And I think that's true in this case, too, and I'm not too sure I would sympathize with criticism that says you don't "exalt" in your poetry — that's not a direction you've intended to go. Instead, what you seem to be doing is questing or searching. The poems indicate an attempt to get at meaning. You use "home" quite often, the attempt of an individual to go home, somehow, in order to achieve identity. So if you're using a questing figure, obviously you would have no reason particularly to "exalt" any more than to feel "despair."
Turco. I don't very often feel a sense of exaltation, although I suppose on occasion one does...but I think, I guess what I try to do sometimes maybe — all those qualifications! — is to find at least some comfort in the familiar, but mystery as well. Because I consider that, though life seems real and "natural," it is actually a surreal experience.
Wolf. That's very much in the Wyeth paintings.
Fitzgerald. Lew, I've noticed something about your poetry — I find it full of clarity, and for a long while American poetry was under the influence of a kind of fashionable obscurity. Can you say anything about that in relation to your own work? Do you accept my statement about your clarity?
Turco. I've been accused of being unclear, Greg, on occasion, as for instance when I deliberately use an archaic word — I used one, "crool," in "The Homestead." It's an obscure, an obsolete word, but it's onomatopoeic, it sounds like water, it seems to me — it has a cool sound, like a mourning dove's call, so I used it. That's obscure, I suppose, it's not terribly clear, but in context I think it might be considered to be clear. At any rate, I've always intended to write clearly so that people could understand my meanings, but I didn't want to sacrifice depth. In other words, if I could have achieved the optimum poem it would have been perhaps like looking down through a deep pond of perfectly clear water to the bottom, where you can see everything, but "everything" is not necessarily solid. There would be a wavering of light in the current and eddies — in other words, clear, yes, but still not right there to touch.
Wolf. I'm still pursuing those last two poems you read and thinking of the approach to mystery via the object, I guess I'd have to put it. Now, when you mention looking down through a pond, of course, when you look into that limpid water you do see objects, but everything you see is distorted — it's reality, but there's no surety of reality, or it's not where it appears to be, and it's also not quite what it appears to be, and you have any number of other factors entering in — that seems to be what's working in the poetry: everything is clear and everything is precise, but not quite, because you're looking at it through, in effect, a vision.
Turco. Maybe I can illustrate a bit better with this poem that was on the printed program last night — "Albums." The situation is that a family is sitting around in, let's say, an old farmhouse. They're looking at ancient albums from the nineteenth century, tintypes of old pictures. These new generations know that the tintypes are of ancestors, but they're not quite sure in every case who is who.
At this point there's a switch and you start to see features of the photographs walking around in the house attached to the people who are looking into the albums! And then, suddenly, the uncertainty of who these original ancestors were attaches itself to the people now — there's a transition in time, sort of, in which now becomes then, and the new people looking at the pictures are the old people in the pictures.
The ancient albums lie
behind the parlor door spinning fine
tintype fables between plush covers: straight stares
line out over handlebars and whalebone
stays. They were familiars,
once; now the summer eyes of the old
farm run through evenings of conjecture, try names
against heydays, trace the features of these
over collars and boas. A jowl
sags here, beneath this rafter. An eye is gray,
like the sky over the hill. A fire
flickers at the grate, flares
and settles. Someone lights a pipe. Now
the pictures come to life and walk the halls: this
bone is the old lady's, that tooth the man's.
Whose child is this that sits
in the dusty shadows -- whose dust, whose
shade? Who made the bed of webs above the ell?
Who sleeps, who wakes, whose footfall on the floor
disturbs the carpet beetle in its lair?
Wolf. I guess it's almost too easy to classify this as a poem [first collected in A Family Album, 1990] about identity, but you appear to be going back to the situation with Koestler's "Three Brains." This is an attempt not only to identify an individual, but to link him with the past, in fact to meld him into that past, just as though you would be melding this thinking modern man into his other two levels as far as the brain is concerned. It's reverting to a primordial root.
Turco. I guess to say it as plainly as I can, the 1970's have been called the "Me Generation," the generation of the "I," and everybody's wandering around wondering who they are and questioning themselves. The theory is that one should do what comes naturally, "let it all hang out," be oneself. There's only one problem with that, it seems to me: if you can't see yourself in a context, how do you know who you are? We see ourselves most clearly when we see ourselves reflected in others. As a matter of fact, reflections are a rather standard image with me — mirrors, ponds, and so forth. It is the reflection that tells us who we are. I would have thought I'm the exact opposite of a solipsist. We cannot stand apart and say, "I am who I am" — that would make us God, wouldn't it? All we can do is say I am who I am in relation to my surroundings, to my past, and to the other people in the world.
Wolf. In a context. Of course, a solipsist in effect is God — he says, "When I go, the world goes," which is what you're not doing.
Turco. I thought it odd to be accused of doing the opposite of what I thought I was doing, you know.
Wolf. Maybe the accuser didn't know what a solipsist was.
Turco. Oh, no, she definitely did — it was Helen Vendler, a well-known critic — she wrote it to me in a letter.
Wolf. Oh, really? In that case, I retract my surmise [laughter].
Fitzgerald. Let me turn the conversation back to formalism again and ask you if you agree with my observation that formalism suffered following World War II to a large extent, in terms of American poetry and it seems to be making a comeback.
Turco. Not right after World War II — in fact, the 'fifties were a very traditionally formal decade. It was in the 'sixties that everybody went crazy and decided to reinvent American literature.
Fitzgerald. I'm thinking in general of the Beat writers and the Hippie writers and that sort of thing.
Turco. But they had their biggest effect in the 'sixties.
Fitzgerald. But the Beats were writing in the 'fifties.
Turco. That's true, but it was the generation of the next decade that picked up on it and made it a lifestyle
Wolf. Ginsberg went back to Greek forms after all.
Turco. What's always overlooked is that he used Walt Whitman's forms, which he admitted, but which are merely the prose parallels from the Bible. Just because they're prose doesn't mean they're not forms.
Wolf. This is true.
Fitzgerald. But do you think there's a resurgence of formalism going on now in American poetry?
Turco. People tell me that there is — I've seen some special issues of magazines devoted to this question, and there are or have been one or two magazines interested in this topic including X. J. Kennedy's Counter/Measures, so I think there are poets out there who are interested in the subject, that is if you're talking about traditional formalism....
Fitzgerald. Judson Jerome has said that he's not writing anymore in anything but formal patterns.
Turco. I hate it when you use the word "formal" because you're using it in a specific sense; I always use it in a general sense. If you say "traditional" formalism, then I can understand you and perhaps agree, and traditional formalism seems to be a recurring concern now, yes, to a degree and to some poets, but not to everybody by any means.
As far as Jerome is concerned, and people like Karl Shapiro, they've gone through cycles — Shapiro after the war was writing formal poems; then, in the early 'sixties, he started writing prose poems and said that the best part of poetry was that which was not lost in translation. He wanted to write poems that sounded as though they'd been translated from some other language into English. Then, in the late 'sixties, he started writing sonnets. So I think that one thing I can say about forms in the history of American poetry is that it has been an important concern to many people both as something to be reviled and rebelled against and then again, at other times and by other people, something to be used and held up as some sort of standard.
Fitzgerald. Well, of course, you're known to be quite an expert on syllabics, which is formal, isn't it?
Turco. Now you're using the term in the broad sense in which I use it, but then everybody is a formalist, they must use the forms of the English language.
Fitzgerald. Not everybody writes syllabics. You were one of the first ones to do that in America.
Turco. That's true, in unrhymed syllabics.
Fitzgerald. But what I'm trying to say is that not everybody writes in syllabics — syllabics is an unusual technique in English poetry.
Turco. Not so unusual lately, though it was unusual when I began using it.
Fitzgerald. Don Justice and others are practicing it now, but it is an odd thing to use because it doesn't suit English language poetry as well as accentuals do.
Turco. Well, you can't get rid of the accents anyway — that poem I read at the beginning of this program, "Awaken, Bells Falling," was a syllabic poem, but you certainly, I think, heard accents.
Fitzgerald. Certainly, but you were combining them. But a purely syllabic poem is unusual!
Turco [speaking in an absolute monotone, with the same inflection on every syllable]. Well a pure-ly syl-la-bic po-em is im-pos-si-ble in Eng-lish [laughter].
Turco. But you can use the prosody of syllabics as the framework for a poem. Even [Gerard Manley] Hopkins did that with his "sprung rhythm" — count his syllables in "God's Grandeur." There are ten syllables in every line. It's just that the stresses don't fall in the ordinary places.
Wolf. And of course he depends on the number of stresses in the line.
Turco. No, as a matter of fact, he doesn't. If you examine what he means by "sprung rhythm" you find that he can have any number of stresses in a line, but he's going to have a specific number of syllables, usually ten. I don't know what you'd call that prosody — syllabic-accentuals, I guess, as distinguished from accentual-syllabics.
Wolf. Well, the problem of formalism in a sense I think is almost a matter of standpoint, because we have practitioners of almost every kind of verse or art at any one time. It all seems to have to do with who's receiving the attention, or who's up or down at a particular time.
Fitzgerald. It's clear that too many people are writing poetry who don't have the background necessary for making intelligent formal choices.
Wolf. But also, Greg, we come into a situation where a lot of very good, very established poets have been following a type of form that becomes fairly stereotyped with them, and suddenly they realize that it's no longer working for them —
Turco. Like Robert Bly's "deep imagism," for instance, which worked so well that everybody began doing it, and now all their poems are interchangeable.
Wolf. But for the originating poet himself it's no longer working, so he begins to look around for other forms — painters do this too. That's why we got abstract expressionism. And then this new form for a time seems to do the job, but then that phase will go too. Unless you want to repeat yourself endlessly you begin to look around for another form because it's a growth process, you're getting rid of an old skill and looking for a new one.
Turco. This business of form is a stalking horse, it's a post that we run around. It's the theory in the rhetoric of the poets that's important, not the practice. When Pound and Eliot and the rest of those people wanted to kick out the Victorians they cried, "Make it new!" Well, Pound made it new originally by doing medieval Provencal verse forms in English — that was one of the early things that he did. And then other people "made it new" by importing Japanese haiku and doing Imagism, you know. Well, that may be new for us, but it wasn't new in the history of the world — even "Imagism" wasn't something that Emily Dickinson would have found unfamiliar if she'd lived that long.
So this "formalism" business is a talking point, something to kick off from and to come back to for poets, and even [William Cullen] Bryant, who's called the "father of American poetry," started his career by kicking American poetry in the teeth and saying that most American poets were nothing but British imitators. Well, of course, Bryant himself was imitating British Romantic poetry. Then Emerson followed that up with his essay "The Poet" in which he called for the "great" poet of America to step forward when even Emerson himself couldn't break away from the burden of tradition.
But all of a sudden Whitman cones along and does prose poems, and we think it's wonderfully new, but in fact when Whitman was nineteen years old a British poet named Martin Farquhar Tupper wrote a book called Proverbial Philosophy which was nothing but prose poems that kind of imitated the Bible and were fuzzily philosophical like Kahlil Gibran or someone like that. That book sold a million copies in the United States, and Whitman certainly knew about it — there are reference books that will tell you of the connection between Whitman and Tupper. So there's nothing new here, nothing new; it's just that we rediscover the past and it's new again, it's all "new" and now we've got a place to kick off from and a form to take off from and come back to.
Wolf. But as a matter of fact, this is what Pound intended when he said "Make it new" — recover the old forms and keep the tradition going.
Turco. Yes. Pound started us off in so many different directions.
Fitzgerald. Well, this has been most stimulating, but we've run out of time, I'd like to thank you both for being on "The Writers' Forum."
Turco. You're quite welcome. Thank you.