Stolen Collins Question

Since we had to find an interview for this week’s assignment, I found an interview between Billy Collins and Joel Whitney for Guernica Magazine.

Whitney asks lots of really good questions, but the one that stood out the most to me was when he asked Collins “To what degree is that one character you,” while talking about the narrators of Collins poetry. I immediately thought that this would be a good question for Austin Smith because of the dichotomy between his poems. Smith has poems that focus on his memories specifically, and then he writes poems that can’t be about him, but at the same time kind of are.  So if I changed the question into something like “To what degree are the characters of your poems, the narrators, you?” Then I get a pretty decent question for Austin Smith. We already know that he uses his own memories for some of his poetry, which makes those narrators very personal, but then there are also poems like “Nazi Soldier with a Book in His Pants,” where the narrator isn’t as personal to Smith. We already discussed the possibility of the Nazi being a reflection of Smith to a degree, what I want to know with  this question is how much of himself does Smith know he put into his poetry?

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1 Response to Stolen Collins Question

  1. Zhiyuan Meng says:

    I think this would be a great question to ask. As you mentioned in this post, Austin Smith wrote different kinds of poems in the book Almanac. And by asking Austin this question, we can figure out the second-self or narrators of Smith’s poems that do not seem to be personal.

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