The poems I’m most attracted to reveal, either in their content or their mode, or both, the ways in which the poet got through the condition of being a person. I’m thinking of the travel journals of Tu Fu or the poems of James Schuyler and many others. They made beautiful poems that are these crafted things that stand independent of their makers, but that seem to me traces of the psychic negotiations their authors made in order to deal with mortality, beauty, social power, and all the other elemental forces that determine the circumstance of our lives.
History is as real and alive and contemporaneous with us as you want to make it. I don’t presume to know what you as young people have gone through. But if you’ve lost someone you love, then you know what it means to keep history alive. You become the archive of that person’s time on this planet. You may already be the one who tells your little cousin about her father because her father is dead. You have to be the one who remembers things her father used to always say, funny things he did, you have to tell the stories. If you haven’t lost anyone yet, you will, and you’ll know then that history is just a longer chain of such moments of responsibility.
Matuk, Farid. E-mail interview with Xi Gao, Brian Lam, and João Nascimento. 16 Jan. 2011.
The following is an interview of Farid Matuk, conducted by Brian Lam, João Nascimento, and Xi Gao. The interview was done over email in January - February of 2011.
This interview is posted with permission from the author.