'Everything, for me, is translation': An Interview With John High

John High—poet and prose stylist—writes because he feels driven to do so. American and foreign landscapes and voices populate his poems. A contemporary visionary, it is hard to forget any poem of his once you read it. His works have appeared in publications in the United States, Russia, France. He is the author of The Sasha Poems, Ceremonies, The Lives of Thomas, Here, a book of unknowing, The Desire Notebooks, Bloodlines, Talking God's Radio Show, and the forthcoming (April, 2016) vanishing acts. Below are his knowledgeable takes on poetry, living, silence, traveling, writing, spirituality. Point is, his love for creativity is always on display.


1) How does your most recent book (vanishing acts) compare to your previous three books in this series of collections?

The whole thing began with a long poem to my brother, a great friend and hero of mine. One afternoon I was sitting in the Zendo at home and got a call from the coroner's office that he had overdosed. So first I cried, then I sat zazen a bit, then I called my good friend, poet and editor, Ed Foster, at Talisman House. I said I had to write a book for Bill. He said, Ok. (Who would guess they still make editors like that?) Over the next year I wrote here, and in the writing some old friends came back: the one-eyed boy, a handless monk, the ghostwoman, and a host of characters from previous books.

Read the full interview on the Poetry Foundation website.