Friday, 9 March 2012

Howie Good

Drive Safely

I wait
in the slow line
of vehicles
for my turn.

The wailing
of sirens
fades down
the highway.

It’s difficult
to grasp
if you’re not

but dying
is the last kindness
any of us
will ever do.

Maybe others
can overhear
what I’m thinking,
maybe not.

I have just
enough body
to keep
a soul in.


TSTmpj:  Your poem reminded me of William Carlos Williams's work.  Do you prefer to read his sort of poetry; and do you always write in this vein?

Howie Good:  Williams has been an influence, as the success of his work seems to give permission to write poetry in a kind of conversational mode. I have been reading his poetry since I was a teenager. I return particularly to his book, Pictures from Breughel and Other Poems. I have also read a number of biographies of him, including Paul Mariani's massive tome. But I write in other styles, too. People who are familiar with my poetry tend to characterize it as surrealistic. 

TSTmpj:  I recall Ted Kooser talking, in a book of poetics he wrote, about the merits of using simple words, and not using obscure ones.  What is your opinion of the Moderns (especially Pound, Eliot and Stevens); what do you believe they offer contemporary poetry?

Howie Good:  I admire innovative language, but detest when obscurity and incoherence are passed off as innovation and experimentalism. My journalistic background has shaped my own choice of language. I grew up in a profession that puts a premium on being simple and straightforward. But while my poems can appear simple, the appearance is somewhat deceiving. There's something complicated going on underneath, or so I hope. The reader should get a sense of something mysterious or menacing lurking just out of sight.

TSTmpj:  Is there a poet that perhaps is little known internationally, who you would recommend to those reading this as one to seek out?

Elke Erb

Bio Note

Howie Good’s new poetry collection is Dreaming in Red (Right Hand Pointing). All proceeds go to a crisis center:

1 comment:

  1. Great poem. Thank you. "dying is the last kindness any of us will ever do" is brilliant.