Samuel Hazo is only 94, but even for that relatively young age he has been extraordinarily productive lately. Here is his latest book, his second from Serif Press: Entries from the Interior. It’s a book of essays, a commonplace-book, a string of random observations, all filtered through the unique and original mind of Pennsylvania’s first poet laureate.

He had the window seat. After take-off he said, “My line is socks; what’s yours?” I said I was a writer. He smiled his least impressive smile and asked, “What do you write?” I paused and said, “I hope they are poems.” “Where are you headed now?” he added. I told him I’d been invited to recite my poems at a university. “They pay you for that?”

The concise poem of a Volkswagen compared with the blunt prose of a truck…

Loyalty to whom? Loyalty for what? I hear so much about loyalty, but loyalty remains, like courage, a blind virtue. One can be loyal to crime as faithfully as one can be loyal to one’s country or one’s family. One can be loyal to a lie as well as to the truth.

Is sensory knowledge more memorable than empirical knowledge? Probably. The pain of a broken arm is a stronger memory than the square root of four.

Poetry precedes religion historically and philosophically. Whatever is alive in religion is poetry. The rest is ritual.

Sloth is invariably considered by many as the mother of invention. Who, for instance, but a lazy man shortcutted his way to the wheel, the match, the boat? But sloth is also the father of mischief. Who but a lazy man opted for slavery?

Poetry has no past tense. Nor does music. Nor does God.

Order Entries from the Interior at Amazon.


  1. John Salmon says:

    It occurred to me a few years ago that all important events-Masses, baseball games, Maynard Ferguson concerts-are marked by ritual. The best moment of many a baseball game is the silly ritual of singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, hours after you have gotten to one.

    Perhaps at 94, with my time short, I will prefer to skip the ritual and just bring in the next reliever.

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