Arvon tutor Kathryn Maris talks about poetry and gives us a few insights into what her teaching methods are like. Kathryn is tutoring Arvon’s Starting to Write Poetry course with Jamie McKendrick at Totleigh Barton, October 3rd – October 8th.
Kathryn Maris is originally from New York and has lived in London since 1999. Her poetry collections include The Book of Jobs and God Loves You. Her poems have appeared in The Best British Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology and many periodicals in the US and the UK.
Give us a little hint in advance of your course: what is a poem?
Sometimes I receive a spam e-mail and I think, ‘That’s nearly a poem.’ Sometimes I see a published poem and think, ‘That will never be a poem.’ I believe that poetry, like ‘obscenity’ in the 1964 Supreme Court case, is subject to the ‘You know it when you see it’ test
If you could have dinner with a poet from the past, who would it be and why?
The Miss Marple in me wants to venture back to ancient Greece to find out everything I can about the poet or poets we call ‘Homer’. And though I fear I might be disappointed—because the fragments are so satisfying—I’d want to ask Sappho to show me everything she’s ever written. What a gift to be able to say, ‘Sappho was too prolific.’
If you could pass on a single poetry advice to all poets in the world, what would you say?
Be more collaborative and less competitive.