University of Washington Press 2013
David Biespiel‘s Charming Gardeners (University of Washington Press, 2013) is unlike any book I’ve read in a long time. Filled with epistolary poems, his book – despite being populated by the poet’s friends and family – is actually a work of great loneliness. In many ways, Biespiel’s journey is America’s, where the road is both a symbol of arrivals, but also departures, and in between is solitude. On the surface, Biespiel’s poems seem like the private meditations of one man. However, his poems encompass each of us, socially and politically, by illuminating our nation’s contradictory character: a longing for enchantment in a disenchanted world. The poems in Charming Gardeners live between the wilderness and the civilized and the poet, finding himself in this zone of uncertainty, does what any of us would do: call out to those we love. In our conversation we discuss his years in Boston and D.C., the Attic Institute in Portland, the poetry wars, and so much more. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.