How does a poem begin?
Often, I’m ambushed by the recourse to write—a single phrase, notion, question, or feeling—and a poem begins in that minor crisis. That’s eros; that’s desire, I guess. In Eros the Bittersweet, Anne Carson writes, “Desire, then, is neither inhabitant nor ally to the desirer. Foreign to her will, it forces itself irresistibly upon her from without. Eros is an enemy.” Her characterization feels true to my experience of writing, a delicious anguish, an awareness of an absence I’m compelled to fill, even while knowing I can’t. Ideas come as a feeling of otherness that takes me over or carves out a space in my attention without permission. I’m inclined to offer myself to that otherness—to satisfy it out of fear or out of some desire to master it.