A Short Interview with Alexander Pope


Q: I notice you don't mention poetry blogs in An Essay On Criticism. Why not?

The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read,
With loads of learned lumber in his head,
With his own tongue still edifies his ears,
And always listn'ing to himself appears.

Q: Really? Some are quite good. You can track a poet's development.

Some have at first for Wits, then Poets past,
Turn'd Critics next, and proved plain fools at last.

Q: What's your take on this mocked yet irresistible battle between the Ancients and the Moderns... no, I mean innovative vs traditional, or post-avant and Quietude?

Pope: "neither Side prevails / For nothing's left in either of the Scales."

Q: Come, you're being facetious, you can't mean "nothing"?

Pope: "The good lies in", "whatever is useful or excellent", "whether ancient or modern."

Q: How much institutional education does one person need?

What tho' we let some better sort of fool
Thrid ev'ry science, run thro' ev'ry school?
Never by tumbler thro' the hoops was shown
Such skill in passing all, and touching none.

Q: I'm very fond of the Monument, where in Days of Ease I used to meet up with friends; I think of it as a folly, a work of soft architecture which points, contra-archaeology, upwards to the fire of the past. How do you think of it?

Pope: "pointing at the skies, / Like a tall bully"
By Melissa Flores-Bórquez and Edmund Hardy

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