Talking Louisiana, Pigs in Art Galleries, and Dental Hygienists with Billy Stanley


Billy Stanley grew up in the backwaters of the D’arbonne Bayou on the outskirts of West Monroe, Louisiana. After exhausting his literary ambitions in the twin cities of Northeast Louisiana he took off to Provincetown Massachusetts to become Stanley Kunitz‘s garbageman for a few summers. He humbled himself before Yusef Komuyakaa at the end of Cape Cod. Dave Brinks agitated him on the streets of the Big Easy as Billy yawped his bona fides. He then fell in love and shoveled snow in New York’s capital. Shaker ghosts in Watervliet haunted him on early morning sunrises in the dead of winter. Adam Goldsworthy teaches him the poetry of nature as Livio Levante teaches him the riches of nature.

Billy says that “Poetry is man’s attempt to rationalize the magnificence of nature in the face of our human hubris. Hope you like mine, I do.”

On March 27, 2006, Billy read his poem “Dental Hygienists” at the Poets Speak Loud open mic at the Lark Tavern.

In our conversation, we talk about where that poem came from and much, much more.

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