Is there anything you wish you could tell your younger poet self?
“It’ll go better than you think.” I didn’t even know I’d be alive at 71—in fact, I didn’t expect to be alive at 71. I didn’t expect to be alive at 10. So everything after a certain point was, for me, gravy.
What are the seeds of your work? Do your poems grow from a feeling you want to convey, or a question you want to ask?
No. I never have the slightest thing in mind. In fact, I am suspicious of my existing ideas, my conscious thoughts and convictions. They are what I need to get beyond, into ignorance and after that, with luck, discovery. I begin to write when a phrase appears in my head—a word cluster, sometimes a single word. The task is to discover the world or voice from which this fragment can speak or elaborate itself into a story or a personality or a mood. This is rather crudely said.
There is nothing deliberate or consciously deliberate in this process. Decisive, though. Like making a poem, more a feeling around in darkness than it is articulating a series of truths.
A poem, to my mind, creates visible or auditory forms for something that is invisible, which is the feeling, or the emotion, or the metaphysical content of a moment. Now it may also include action, but its attack is what I call the ‘vertical’ attack, and this may be a little bit clearer if you will contrast it to what I would call the ‘horizontal’ attack of a drama, which is concerned with the development from situation to situation, whereas a poem is concerned with the development, let’s say, within a very small situation from feeling to feeling.
No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anyone but oneself.
laughing, crying, getting very excited and making her write things down
there is a unified self and that the pronoun "I" is a word which should be given back to people, who need it, but deepened.
Speaking in the first person singular, talking about the third person plural. Always saying I, meaning we.