Redux: The Geography of Self and Soul



Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.

T. S. Eliot. Sketch by D. Cammell, 1959.

In this week’s Redux, we’re celebrating National Poetry Month. Read our first-ever Art of Poetry interview, with T. S. Eliot, as well as Rita Dove’s poem “Stargazing” and Robert Creeley’s poem “The Mountains in the Desert.”

If you enjoy these free interviews, stories, and poems, why not subscribe to read the entire archive? You’ll also get four new issues of the quarterly delivered straight to your door.

We’re holding a special National Poetry Month event in collaboration with the 92Y Poetry Center on Monday, April 29, featuring The Paris Review’s guest poetry editors—Henri Cole, Shane McCrae, Monica Youn, and Vijay Seshadri—and the poets Jericho Brown, Lawrence Joseph, Donika Kelly, and Evie Shockley. We hope to see you there!


T. S. Eliot, The Art of Poetry No. 1
Issue no. 21 (Spring–Summer 1959)

As a rule, with me an unfinished thing is a thing that might as well be rubbed out. It’s better, if there’s something good in it that I might make use of elsewhere, to leave it at the back of my mind than on paper in a drawer. If I leave it in a drawer it remains the same thing but if it’s in the memory it becomes transformed into something else.



By Rita Dove
Issue no. 103 (Summer 1987)

The sky is not a glass of anything;
it winks, it’s a parable,
the kind your mother told whenever
you’d been “wicked”—intense
but vague. The night sky swerves
to its seat, the show begins …



The Mountains in the Desert
By Robert Creeley
Issue no. 29 (Winter–Spring 1963)

The mountains blue now
at the back of my head,
such geography of self and soul
brought to such limit of sight …


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