To read Samuel Amadon’s latest book of poems, The Hartford Book (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2012), is to know for the rest of your life what it feels like to be punched in the nose. In these poems, we are introduced to a band of misfits who turn deviant behavior into a sublime activity. The poems, written in a street-wise vernacular, are honest to the point of humiliation and despair. Full of rhetorical and formal mania, the poems produce in the reader feelings of anxiety and heightened awareness, and joined with the shocking content, the final effect is devastating. The Hartford Book is a journey to the underworld where the slum and street-corners are enchanted, and there’s only one outlaw – the poet – that seems remotely aware of an alternative path, a path that leads straight out of Hartford. In the interview, the poet and I discuss a variety of topics: the poet in the academy, the process of writing The Hartford Book, the formal aspects of his poetry, and much much more. I hope you enjoy our talk as much as I did.
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