Wu Guanzhong (Chinese, 1919-2010), A Little Coastal Town. Hanging scroll, ink and colour on paper, 69 x 69 cm.
Rail: I love the poem “Cul-de-sac.” The ending is pretty heartbreaking: “Brother, I have been unable to attain a balance / between important and unimportant things.”
Ruefle: That question at the end of “Cul-de-sac” brings us right back to the imagination. When is it important and when is it unimportant?
Rail: Do you think that balance is something one can strike or are we always out of balance trying to find balance?
Ruefle: I think we’re always out of balance trying to find balance. Artists tend to be pretty lopsided people. I don’t think there’s anything balanced about us. We have passions and obsessions and predilections. We overreact to the world. Let’s face it! Ordinary people don’t see a fly on the wall and want to talk to it or write a poem about it or think about its existence or its lifespan or draw it. We do. We like the little things. Or we pay attention to language: we see a sign on the side of the highway and it makes us laugh out loud when no one else is laughing. We take the literal figuratively and the figurative literally: it works both ways. We’re lopsided. Balance, balance—I don’t know. I don’t think people who are truly balanced need recourse to artistic expression.
From The Life-Long Sentence, a new interview with poet Mary Ruefle, conducted by Tony Leuzzi and published in The Brooklyn Rail on July 15, 2014.
Read the whole thing HERE.
Max Ernst , 1958. Oil on canvas. 46 x 38 cm.