Gottlieb defends the necessity of poetry and why poets matter.
“Michael Gottlieb’s Socratically-canted essays, all formally addressed to poets, should keep you up at night, even if you’re not a poet. There are no answers here, only inquiries that increase exponentially by the asking. The questions Gottlieb pose range from the embarrassing (what might our responsibilities to other poets be?) to the confounding (what is the role of love in our work?). Each question opens out into more questions that should be considered, even meditated upon. “I’d argue,” he ventures, “listening is the beginning.” The world has changed so much in the twelve years since the first of these writings were published but, still it seems, listening (wedded to an honest ask) may be the truest activism.” — Sharon Mesmer
Literary Nonfiction. Poetry. Essay. Poetics.
Michael Gottlieb is the author of twenty-two books including most recently, SELECTED POEMS, MOSTLY CLEARING, WHAT WE DO: ESSAYS FOR POETS, DEAR ALL, as well as MEMOIR AND ESSAY, the authoritative recounting of the early days of the Language school. He was one of the editors of Roof, the foundational 1970s and 80s poetry magazine. He was also the publisher of Case/Casement Books (1981-1999) and started the Last Tuesday multi-media performance series at La MaMa in NYC in the 1980s. A number of his poems have been adapted for the stage, including And We Will Never Speak of This Again, Mostly Clearing, and The Dust, his poem about 9/11 which was produced on the 10th anniversary of the attacks.