Wednesday, November 10, 2004

But isn't it important for a poet to make sense?

Just the opposite. A poet should make nonsense.


Well, for example, if you open Finnegans Wake, which is I think without doubt the most important book of the twentieth century, you will see that it is just nonsense. Why is it nonsense? So that it can make a multiplicity of sense, and you can choose your path, rather than being forced down Joyce's. Joyce had an anarchic attitude toward the reader so that the reader could do his own work.

Do you write with intent?

People read thinking I'm doing something to them with my books. I'm not. They're doing something to themselves. ... What intention could I have possibly had in writing Empty Words?

Well, you may have wished to speak of Thoreau.

No, he was just the source. I picked Thoreau only because his journal had two million words. I don't want my reader to experience Empty Words except in his own way.

(Lisa Low/John Cage, ur Conversing with Cage, Richard Kostelanetz, red.)


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