In this one (again from Kicking Loose the Gravel), we see Hugo leading one of his poetry classes at the University of Montana. He’s trying to help a student improve her work by understanding poetry as “the art of meaning what you say.”
I love his obsession with the sound of words — which ends up serving the verse (and the “meaning”) so much more than trying to jam a bunch of ideas into broken lines.
Also, as an example of how “monstrous” subjects can find their place without being “overliterary and inflated”, he talks about the story behind his own well-known piece, “The Lady in Kicking Horse Reservoir.” It’s followed by a reading of the poem by Hugo.
Favorite quote from critiquing the studen’t verse:
“Brooks’s law is a principle in software development which says that “adding manpower to a late software project makes it later”. It was coined by Fred Brooks in his 1975 book The Mythical Man-Month. Brooks adds that “Nine women can’t make a baby in one month”.”
Glenn Gould was renowned for the control he had over every aspect of his playing environment:
He invariably insisted that it be extremely warm. [T]he air conditioning engineer had to work just as hard as the recording engineers. The piano had to be set at a certain height and would be raised on wooden blocks if necessary. A small rug would sometimes be required for his feet underneath the piano. He had to sit fourteen inches above the floor and would only play concerts while sitting on the old chair his father had made. He continued to use this chair even when the seat was completely worn through.
There’s something quite admirable about those who know what they need and demand it, repeatedly — to the point of threadbareness.
ERRATUM: Also, in fairness, in the year since this interview was conducted, I’ve been reliably informed by the sainted ex-girlfriend whom I mentioned in this interview that it was I who dumped her. Which is not at all how I remember it, but of course it’s true since it’s entirely consistent with my 19-year-old MO as a ragingly passive-aggressive — truly flaming — asshole. Surprise, surprise.
I regret the error, L. Sorry I got it wrong and sorry I blew so much of your costly Magnavox Videowriter ink drafting that execrable Descartes paper. As you quickly learned, you and Descartes were better off without me. Combibo, ergo sum.