Friday, 27 July 2018

Susan Gillis : part four

When you require renewal, is there a particular poem or book that you return to? A particular author?

In a sense, yes, in that going back to certain poems and voices is a consistently reliable form of renewal. The specific poems and poets I go back change, though I always find things to confound me in Miłosz and things to waken my sense of mystery in Louise Glück. I went over and over the sonnets of Henry Howard Earl of Surrey for my second book, Volta, trying to imagine what they might be talking about if they were transposed to my time and place. This kind of renewal is also a habit; there’s usually some poet I sit down with over morning coffee, notebook at hand for moments of elation and argument. And there’s always something that isn’t poetry—essays or photographs or paintings or music or a walk or etc—but if I accidentally look at the news or social media, then the opposite of renewal happens: pressure sets in and my writing day is in jeopardy.

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