Rae Armantrout‘s poetry finds its place at the intersection of the public and the private. From the news of the day, to a phrase heard on the street or even her battle with a rare and often deadly cancer, Armantrout blends a variety of experience, sometimes in a single line.
“You can hold various elements of my poems in your mind at one time, but those elements may be hissing and spitting at one another,” Armantrout says.
Armantrout won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Pulitzer Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award for her collection, “Versed,” which was published in 2009 and in part deals with her illness. Her latest book, “Money Shot,” came out last year, and many of the poems speak to the economic downturn.
A native of San Diego, she still lives there and teaches at University of California-San Diego. We recently visited Armantrout at her home. Below you’ll find our conversation with her and an extended reading. Later, we’ll post the segment that will air on Friday’s NewsHour.