The editors at Open Letters Monthly (OLM) published “That is not Sad, This is Not Funny,” the first result of my haphazard efforts to find out a little more about Paul Hannigan, back in 2007. That essay led directly to the Selected.
OLM is a Boston-based journal (though now its editors work thousands of miles apart); it’s appropriate they would promote Hannigan, who spent most of his life in the Boston area. Today, the new issue is up. The homepage features a pen & ink sketch drawn by Hannigan (click on the image and see how he framed it on a sheet of high quality art paper), and the issue includes a conversation John and I had about the Selected. John’s questions are superb. I struggled to answer them adequately.
John asked, “Where do you see The Problem of Boredom in Paradise fitting into our poetry culture, and what would you like to see?” My answer is a little enigmatic: “When a poet is recovered his recovery reminds that for every name handed down a few are lost. Can we ‘recover’ those hidden from view now? Maybe that’s not possible. Maybe recovery is by nature a project for the generations to follow.”
On my mind as I answered is the ongoing recovery of poetry from the ancient world, how thrilling it is to think another great epic might be found, but also the vast number of literary journals in our world now—the amount of work in journals is as daunting as the desert that buried Ashurbanipal’s library for thousands of years.
I need more time.