Maureen McLane is a poet and critic.
After her undergraduate studies in American history and literature, she studied English literature on a scholarship before earning, her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago.
In addition to academic publications on British romanticism, Maureen McLane has written a number of memoir and criticism.
One of them, My Poets, became a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award in autobiography.
And her most recent collection of poetry, This Blue, was a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award.
Today, we have Maureen McLane, now professor of English at New York University, with us on the radio show. Good evening, Maureen.
Now, can you tell us when you first began to read poetry?
I would probably say, in my high school days.
Of course, there had been some other things in the environment in my childhood before high school, like nursery rhymes, hymns, my mother's playing piano and guitar, poems my father might come out with.
But in terms of reading poetry, it really came about through high school. Literature classes in general were very stimulating to me.
You begin one section of My Poets by talking about the lecture course you took in your freshman year with Helen Vendler, and the poetry section you had with William Corbett.
Were there other teachers who were important to you?
Well, there were several people important to me who weren't poetry people at all - they were historians or professors of music.
Oh, that's interesting.
I had a wonderful tutor, now a professor of English at the University of Chicago, Janice Knight. Janice was and is a scholar of colonial America, but she also knew a lot about a certain line in American poetry.
She introduced me to Susan Howe's work.
I mean, those people became important to me in various ways.
I almost feel as if in the end the poets themselves are the most important teachers.
I do think that if you bend towards becoming a writer, at the end of the day, it's writing that teaches you, I mean, other writers' works.
You were an undergraduate at Harvard, and then you returned to teach there. What was that like?
When I returned, I was at a very different phase of life.
Being back as a professor, Cambridge, where Harvard University is, was very different-it was much more commercialized and cleaned-up than when I was an undergrad.
I liked being near Fresh Pond, and going to Walden.
I felt like I was getting to know New England a little bit better, in a way that was very different from when I was 18.
I liked that, and I was more aware of the environment.
You write in My Poets about the power of listening to “poetry fans read those poems or works they are committed to.”
Is this an important teaching tool for you?
I definitely bring recordings to class.
Recordings offer a great way to refocus one's attention on the poem.
I feel like it's definitely a zone for encounter, a zone that's really powerful.
I also think there is an inner ear, which is much more relevant to my sense of poetry than actual vocalization.
Some people are very attuned to this ear.
For example, they compose in their minds, maybe reciting aloud, and only at the end do they write things down.
So, I do think there's an inner ear that is activated when one writes.
Or at least for me. And that is as loud, as audible, as our conversation right now.
This is the end of the part one of the interview.
Questions 1 to 5 are based on what you have just heard.
Question 1: what is Maureen Mclane according to the interviewer?
Question 2: when did Maureen Mclane first began to read poetry?
Question 3: who was the most important teachers to Maureen Mclane?
Question 4: which of the following did Maureen Mclane feel more strongly about when she returned to teach at Harvard?
Question 5: why did Maureen bring recordings to class?