We need a third term, one that can describe the space between the state and the supposedly safe havens of the personal. Let us call this space “the social”… the social is a place of resistance and struggle, where books are published, poems read, and protest disseminated. It is the sphere in which claims against the political order are made in the name of justice. —Carolyn Forche, Against Forgetting Twentieth Century Poetry ofWitness (W.W. Norton & Company, 1993). THOUGH THE ACTUAL DEVELOPMENTS IN MANY arts may seem to be leading us away from the idea that a work of art is primarily its content, the idea still exerts an extraordinary hegemony. I want to suggest that this is because the idea is now perpetuated in the guise of a certain way of encountering works of art thoroughly ingrained among most people who take any of the arts seriously. What the overemphasis on the idea of content entails is the perennial, never consummated project of interpretation. And, conversely, it is the habit of approaching works of art in order to interpret them that sustains the fancy that there really is such a thing as the content of a work of art. —Susan Sontag, “Against Interpretation,” Against Interpretation (Dell Publishing, 1969). BEFORE I GIVE A MANUSCRIPT TO MY EDITOR, I RUN a “cliché round-robin” on it. So I go through whatever it is, galleys, proofs, and I begin to circle words that are happening more than once, twice, three times. I go through the whole manuscript. I love this part of putting a book together. I mean, the book is all together. And each poem is edited enough, as far as I’m concerned. But then I find out about these words, and then, I look at each instance of my most used words and see if it will please change. Most of them will not change. Some of them I change, and then in another printing I have to change them back, because it was obvious that someone was doing something literary here in order not to use too many clichés. —Sharon Olds, 2010 interview with Michael Laskey at poets.org. Page 18 - Nine Mile Magazine

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