Mudlark No. 59 (2015)


Since I was a teenager, I’ve been writing down things people say. I borrowed the term “Conversation Poems” from Coleridge, although, as I understand it, his were not only conversational (relative to his other poems, anyway) but were addressed to the absent conversation partner. Walter Jackson Bate writes in his book Coleridge (1968): “When he used the term (‘The Nightingale: A Conversation Poem,’ April 1798), it was with a half-humorous apology as if to say it was a ‘middle thing’ between poetry and conversation.” My own Conversation Poems usually begin as documentaries of conversations I've had or heard. Who said what to whom doesn’t matter anymore, at least not right now. In chamber music, there are individual voices and there are the conversations they have; these can’t be separated, but they’re also not the same thing.

Mark Dow | Contents | Mudlark No. 59 (2015)