As we near the end of our celebration of National Poetry Month, we are spending this week highlighting our “local” poets (faculty and alumni). We sent a short set of questions to each, and will be posting their responses. Today we are sharing what Dan Beachy-Quick had to say. (You can read our feature of him from 2017 National Poetry Month here, which includes his bio).

Why does poetry matter?

I’ve come to think of poetry as one of the last refuges where one can honestly admit to the complexity and confusions of self and world, and rather than that admission adding to the chaos, it clarifies it, becomes a kind of caring, a tending of the whole fragile thing, life.

Why do you write poetry and not some other genre?

Well, I do write other genres, but it’s as a poet I think of myself. I sort of see it as the fundamental art in its relation to words, the testing ground of how meaning comes together and falls apart.

How did you find poetry?

I’ve come to think this question is best in the passive: how was I found by poetry—which was in high school, due to a teacher who knew how to offer poetry meaningfully to her students. At one point, reading Donne, I was just stunned with the thought that such a thing could be made in words, and I promised myself I would learn how to do so myself.

What are you working on now?

A book of translations from the Ancient Greek lyric tradition.

What poem, poet, or poetry collection is your favorite?

It makes the other books mad if you answer this question. & the dead. Which isn’t good.