Vallejo Nocturno 2014 - Saturday Walks
And by the time it appeared, I was already living in France, so if there was any... ah... feedback to be had, I wasn’t getting it. It seemed to me that my book had fallen into a bottomless pit, and that I would never have another chance to publish another book of poems.
And I was also rather interested in trying something new, [and] having difficulty in doing this, living in a country where the language spoken was not my own. And I began a lot of experiments, using collage techniques, especially from American and/or English books and magazines, perhaps to feel that I had a toehold in the English language.
One that seems to give people the most trouble is a long poem called ‘Europe’, which... I cannibalised a book for teenage girls published in England during World War One, that I found in a bookstall along the Seine in Paris, called Beryl of the Biplane. Ah... and the only idea, if there is one, in the poem, is that this poem contains a lot of things that can be found in Europe. But of course they can also be found anywhere else.
The title ‘Europe’ was suggested to me by the title of one of the stations of the Paris Metro which is in a section called ‘Europe’, where all the streets are named after European capitals.
These were... experiments which I thought would perhaps lead to something, but I didn’t really intend them to be finished poems. I didn’t at that point know how to write a finished poem in the way that I felt I had done so before, at least in the new way that I wanted to write. And quite unexpectedly I had an opportunity to publish another volume. So I used what I had.
My intention was to be after... kind of... taking language apart so I could look at the pieces that made it up. I would eventually get around to putting them back together again, and would then have more of a knowledge of how they worked, together.
I think in fact that I have done this, at least to my own satisfaction. There are a few poems in that book in which a synthetic rather than analytic (to use terms of cubist painting) attempt was being made... no, actually, that’s not until a later book... a few of the earlier poems actually satisfied me in the way I was talking about. The one that you asked me to read, ‘Thoughts of a Young Girl’, for instance, and another one called ‘They Dream Only of America’... these were the earlier poems in the book, and actually preceded the violently experimental ones.
I don’t really know why I didn’t proceed along the lines of those poems, which I find much more satisfying, myself, now, than the poems such as ‘Europe’, which were experimental and more controversial. I don’t mean controversial, I mean... ah... well, perhaps ‘dubious’ is the word.