Richard Wilbur on Edgar Allan Poe

From Helen McCloy Ellison, Ellesa Clay High, & Peter A. Stitt’s interview of Richard Wilbur in “The Art of Poetry No. 22” (The Paris Review: Winter 1977, No. 72):

INTERVIEWER That was one of your criticisms of Poe’s poetry, wasn’t it, that it wasn’t grounded enough in the concrete.

WILBUR Yes. He is hurrying away from it as fast as he can go. He has to mention it in order to destroy it! Otherwise, you’d see nothing but the smoke. He will say “seas,” and then will add, “without a shore,” and make it impossible for you to think of any sea that you ever heard of.