Charles Bane, Jr. is a poet, poetry advocate, and the author of two books, Love Poems and The Chapbook. His first book of poetry came to the notice of past U.S. Poet Laureate Donald Hall and they corresponded for a year before the letters were donated to The Paris Review and University of Michigan. He notes that he is married to a beautiful, third-generation Southern cook, and has one son who is a gifted painter, making him "essentially the luckiest man who has ever lived."
Who are you?
I'm the author of Love Poems, my second collection of poetry. I also created and write The Meaning Of Poetry series for the Gutenberg Project, which is essentially a history of poetry in the West. I'm at work on my next collection, The Ends Of The Earth which I hope to have completed by the fall of this year.
Where can you be found online? Do you have a blog or other online receptacle for your work?
I'm not on social media because I think it's a time drain, and addictive. I'm very fortunate in having a publicist and my wife, of her own choice, is on Twitter and posts my new writing. I'm grateful to Ann.
The public can find me on my website, here: http://www.charlesbanejr.com
and I hope its design draws in the reader to look more closely. I can be emailed through its contact page.
I take technology on my terms. It's an amazing way to submit work to a global audience, but I don't own a cell phone because it interrupts my writing.
What inspired you to start writing? When did it happen?
All writers say they started as children; it's a cliche. But I was an early poet with enormous support from my father , who sent in my work to a journal when I was twelve. Past Poet Laureate Richard Wilbur—who I'm not comparing myself to—was published at eight. Poets are different from fiction writers. Poets recognize the sound of their voice quickly and young.
Why do you write?
It's a privilege to write poetry. The odds are very long that you will be read by the general public, who in the United States, have almost no interest in contemporary work. Few major houses, other than Farrar, Strauss and Giroux will publish it because of the small return. Publishing has become ever more conglomerate and focused on popular authors.
Our public library system could be invaluable in subscribing to literary journals and purchasing titles from small presses. I advocate strongly for it. Poets should consider having their work translated into Spanish, for a Latin American market that reveres Neruda, Borges and Machado.
In Spain, Cevantes' birthday is a national holiday. We should do the same for Emily Dickinson. Finally, classrooms should teach living poets whose voice is modern to pupil's ears.
Your writing inspires me. Who inspires you?
Thank you. I think that 2015 will be the Pulitzer year of the feminist, because feminist work is dominating contemporary poetry and Letters, through sheer gift. It's likely that Patricia Lockwood or Saskia Hamilton who've released new collections will win in 2015. I admire both, as well as Susannah Nevison. Major influences on me were Elizabeth Bishop and Anthony Hecht. I keep a copy of Milton's Lycidas by my bed, and Shakespeare.
In keeping with the admittedly loose travel theme of Not Intent On Arriving, if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I'm there. I live in South Florida. Thousands of birds stop here on migration. On my terrace I watch ibis, egret and heron as I work.
What is your favorite place on earth?
The hills of Puerto Rico, away from San Juan.
Anything else you'd like us to know?
Yes, I'm grateful for your interview.