Mike Hazard, April 25, 2014
Mike Hazard, poet and filmmaker, talks to Peter Shea and reads poems illustrating his remarks from his book, This World is Not Altogether Bad. He establishes the influence of his parents–his mother, a Renaissance scholar, and his father, an English professor–on his life and work. He reflects on America’s “conflict between the two Walts” (Disney and Whitman) and how America’s evilness has shaped his filmmaking and its intent. He considers how one can mount activism and continue into old age, reading a number of poems about old people he has known. He recounts the poetic skill of the aged Eugene McCarthy.
Hazard is artist-in-residence at the Center for International Education. He has written, produced and directed a hundred documentaries, five of which have enjoyed a national release on PBS. Many subjects of his documentary film portraits are also his literary lights: Thomas McGrath, Robert Bly, Hanshan, Gary Snyder, Eugene McCarthy, Roy McBride, Margaret Hasse, Frederick Manfred, Phebe Hanson, David Bengtson and Issa.
His poems have been published in MPLSzine, Dakota Territory, County Lines, Tenth Assembling, Preview Magazine and Saint Paul Almanac. His video poem Weird Wood is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (NY). His books include Media Mike’s Mask Museum A-Z and The Cathedral is the Mountain in Our Neighborhood.
This interview is part the oral history project Intellectual and Cultural Leaders of Minnesota.