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Jonathan Galassi: ‘Don’t be afraid to listen to constructive criticism’

Happy National Poetry Month! All throughout April, we will interview poets about working in this digital age. Recently, we spoke with poet Jonathan Galassi.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux publisher Galassi has written three poetry collections including the 2012 title, Left-Handed. In the past, he served as the poetry editor at The Paris Review.

Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: How did you publish your first book?
A: I was nearly 40 when I published my first book. I was a slow starter—or rather, I was slow to gather my work together, though I had published translations, mainly of the Italian poet Montale, by then.

Q: Has the internet changed the way you interact with readers?
A: It’s seems to have brought them closer in some way, though I can’t say why.

Q: Any tips for reading poetry out loud?
A: I think poetry should be read very much like prose, except that the line breaks should be acknowledged somehow. Ponderous lyrical Intonation, or chanting, or what we used to call the dry, flat “Iowa Incantation” is to be avoided.

Q: What advice can you share for aspiring poets?
A: Be patient, work hard and consistently, have faith in your writing and don’t be afraid to listen to constructive criticism.

Q: What’s next for you?
A: I’m writing something completely new and different from anything I’ve tried before. Risky but I hope it will eventually pan out. But you never know—that’s an inevitable part of the game.

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