Former director of the Unterberg Poetry Center, poet and critic David Yezzi (pictured with daughter), now the executive editor of The New Criterion, returns to the Y to teach a class on Prosody which includes the scansion and metrical shape of lines to make music in poetry. After last year’s sessions, one student raved, “David clearly loves and is thrilled by poetry—it was an exciting class.” He explains his time at the Y in a recent interview with Ernest Hibert in The Cortland Review:
EH: How did you first come to the 92nd Street Y, and what did you do there?
DY: I ran the poetry center for four years. I was working at NYU with a group of writers called the Institute for the Humanities and heard there was an opening at the Y. I thought they were interviewing for an assistant position. I thought it might be fun to be an assistant at the Poetry Center. I was halfway through the interview before I realized that they were interviewing for the director’s position! I tried to nod and smile, and six interviews later they offered me the job. It was both fun and exhausting. When my wife and I wound up with twins this past summer it became untenable. I couldn’t be out so many nights.
EH: Run me through a typical day, and, as you suggested, night at the Y.
DY: On a Sunday, I would get up at 6:30 or 7AM, read the book that was being discussed that day and write an introduction of several pages. We had an 11AM lecture, then a book signing and a lunch. On a Monday we would get in at a reasonable hour and prepare for the evening, which would go to 10:30, or even midnight. It was a breakneck pace. We were there all the time. I was thrilled to have done it, but I’m actually thrilled to be back in an editorial position.
The interview also includes insightful thoughts on Columbia’s MFA program, Herbert Leibowitz of Parnassus: Poetry In Review, poetic drama and many other topics. His Prodosy class starts on Tuesday and there are still a few seats left.
[On Prosody - David Yezzi: Starts 10/10/06]
Related: Don’t miss a special evening when David joins two other former directors of our Poetry Center, Karl Kirchwey and Grace Schulman, for a reading in February.