Monday, March 26, 2012

The Kenyon Review Interviews Kevin Prufer

Four Way Books author, Kevin Prufer was interviewed by The Kenyon Review about his writing in general, his poem Elegy and Comfort published in The Kenyon Review's Spring 2012 edition and more.

"When I was fifteen, I had a teacher at Western Reserve Academy (a little boarding school in Ohio) who made us memorize a poem a week. Each Monday, Mr. Demong would give us a poem that each Friday we would have to write out on a piece of notebook paper. Any error – even a missing comma – resulted in a full grade deduction. And each new poem was longer than the previous week’s poem.

Of course, we all complained about this, but it was an incredibly valuable exercise for all kinds of reasons. Most simply, I learned basic punctuation this way. It was, after all, impossible to memorize the placement of every comma and semicolon in “My Last Duchess” (or any of the even longer poems he assigned us). It was easier simply to know the rules that dictated where commas and semicolons ought to be.

More broadly, memorizing poems by Frost, Dickinson, Marvell, and Browning helped me understand the poems deeply. That is, I learned to listen to the nuances of rhythm and meter, gained a sense for how rhyme worked, and, in many cases, forged a personal connection with the speakers of the poems. Rereading those poems, I feel those same connections today."

Click here to read more of the interview and visit us online to get your copy of Prufer's most recent book, A Beautiful Country and to look at our other books and future events coming up (like our annual benefit!).