This October, we will present our annual Poets Forum in partnership with the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, the largest poetry event in North America. Our weekend of special events will take place from October 20 to 23 and will include a reading by the Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets and a series of conversations among the distinguished poets.
In anticipation of the upcoming events, the Dodge Blog is spotlighting those poets who will participate in the festival in a new series—Ask a Poet. Here's an excerpt from a Q&A with Academy Chancellor Arthur Sze:
Dodge Blog: When did you first discover poetry? What poets made you want to write poetry?
Arthur Sze: I didn’t discover poetry until rather late. In fact, my first encounters with poetry were very negative: in junior high school, I remember cringing when the teacher asked everyone to look for the hidden symbolism of the albatross in “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” In high school, I was good at math and science and applied to MIT and was accepted. In my freshman year, bored in a large lecture class, I opened my notebook to a blank page and wrote some phrases down. Later I took those phrases and wrote my first poem. Soon I was writing all of the time. In my sophomore year, I took a poetry workshop with Denise Levertov. She introduced me to the poems of Robert Creeley, Gary Snyder, and Galway Kinnell. Those poets, along with Denise, excited me and made me want to continue.