I was with William Gass and John Barth in Germany recently, and I heard Gass talking marvelously about how, in our age, fiction has taken over much of the function of poetry. I’ve always resented what we could call biographical poetry, though I gather from a teacher’s or a good poet’s point of view that it is amongst the best poetry written in the twentieth century. It isn’t that I want any of Joyce’s godlike Omniscience, it’s just that I want whatever one creates out of words to be so clearly something made, so clearly an artifice, artificial. I want prose fiction to be recognized as that, and I’m not interested in writing as it becomes more personal.
From an interview with John Hawkes.