Pop Culture
Dec 02, 2013, 09:40AM

Oh, Enormously

A 1991 Village Voice interview with Public Enemy MC Chuck D. vs. an early 1970s Paris Review interview with the late poet W.H. Auden.

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W.H. Auden: When words lose their meaning, physical force takes over.

Chuck D.: You're just going to see more madness.

Auden: It's a form of voyeurism.

Chuck D.: Yeah, we was making money.

Auden: No. Nothing is calculable.

Chuck D.: Boom, boom, boom.

Auden: Once I had a craze for turnips.

Chuck D.: I think a beat is better.

Auden: Oh, enormously.

Chuck D.: True or false?

Auden: Spiders and octopi.

Chuck D.: Can't be afraid of them.

Auden: I'm a bit puzzled by it.

Chuck D.: It's over with. It's gone.

Auden: Unfortunately, that's too often the case.

Chuck D.: I could be right, I could be wrong. Those are the basics.

Auden: Again, this idea of choosing. I couldn't do that, I'm far too worldly.

Chuck D.: But you know, basically, it's the same story interrelated.

Auden: I could decide between two ways of draining a mine, but I wasn’t allowed to use magical means.

Chuck D.: Somebody does, anyway. I'll sit on Greyhound for hours just listening to my music, look out the window and write, you know. Yo, I just drove—went down to Disneyworld. I could drive like—see, there's always a job in the business. Let's say they say, Chuck, you out of the business, man, I'll be a bus driver. I know the fucking roads, man.

Auden: The notes in music do not denote anything. The wildest poem has to have a firm basis in common sense, and this, I think, is the advantage of formal verse.

Chuck D.: So I just threw all that shit out the window.


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