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Interviews with James Hearst

Gildner, Judith. “An Interview with Iowa Poet James Hearst.” Midwest Review, Spring 1980, pp. 38-45.
Gildner’s interview took place in December of 1978 and January of 1979 but was not published until the spring issue of 1980. In it, she discusses with Hearst how his Midwestern upbringing affected him, both in his formative years and in his life as a poet, in addition to how the Great Depression had an impact on his writing. Hearst discusses the strongest forces in his life that shaped him into the man and poet he became, including a discussion of the books he read in his youth and the farmers he spent his life near. Hearst claimed never to have identified with any particular group of writers, nor did he envision his audience when he began to write a poem. The interview concludes with a discussion of whether Hearst believes his teaching career is compatible with his career as a poet, something Hearst himself appears to still be wrestling with at the time of the interview.

Holt, Rochelle. “James Hearst: Voice of the Earth We Stand On.” Sunday Clothes: A Magazine of the Fine Arts, vol. 2, no. 2, 1973, pp. 12-13, 39-44.
Holt questions Hearst about how he came to begin writing poetry and what caused him to continue, as well as whom he regards as his personal favorite authors. Hearst addresses women poets, and whether he feels male and female poets write poetry differently or should be regarded as different, as well as rejecting the idea that he may someday write a lengthy piece of prose fiction, as many poets had done before him. Hearst also discusses the poems he would most like to be remembered for and briefly discusses his friendships with Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg. 

Lanter, Wayne. Threshing Time: A Tribute to James Hearst. River King Press, 1996. 
Lanter’s work is broken into five parts, each of which begins with an interview, or conversation, with Hearst. Throughout the book, Hearst and Lanter speak in a conversational manner rather than in a traditional interview format, discussing everything from Hearst’s personal life, his views on pertinent issues, his personal philosophy and his teaching career. In addition, Lanter and Hearst discuss Hearst’s own work, as he reflects back on his personal progression as a poet.

Ward, Robert J. “Farming the Land and Writing Poetry: An Interview with James Hearst.” Poet & Critic, vol. 15, no. 1, 1983, pp. 52-57.
Ward’s conversation with Hearst includes a discussion of how to define a farmer poet, who other farmer poets are, and why farmer poetry is lacking in America. Hearst likens the act of writing poetry to the act of farming, drawing links between the reliance on luck, the stubbornness of the landscape or the words. Ward draws the discussion to a close with a brief conversation on nature imagery in Hearst’s work and questions how Hearst feels his own work has changed over time. See below for more information on Ward’s interviews with Hearst.

Witt, Bill. “A Conversation with James Hearst.” Iowan, Spring 1979, pp. 14-22.
Witt discusses with Hearst his own view of himself as a poet, asking about his attitude towards the land, his values, and the recurrent themes in his poetry, including Hearst’s concern with the actual experience of living and what constitutes truth. Hearst offers insight into how he creates his distinctive voice as a poet, and he reiterates that other writers have not influenced his work directly but have influenced the way that he thinks about life. See below for more information on Witt’s interview with Hearst.

**Audio Interviews. The Hearst Family Papers (boxes 55, 55A, 55B and 84) includes an extensive collection of audio interviews with Hearst (including those thap provided the basis for the Ward and Witt interviews above. Selections from those interviews are now available in the Recordings section of the James Hearst Digital Archive.