How does a poem begin?
A poem begins anywhere, with any prompt: an image; a location; the weather; a picture, photograph, phrase; a feeling, an impulse to bless or curse, rejoice or lament. Writing a poem is a kind of hunt. The prompt, whatever it is, alerts the poet to a poem lurking and after that the poet stalks the poem, sniffing, searching for paw prints, for droppings, for the territory it has marked out – all the clues to its identity. The poem arrives when the poet has caught her prey. She doesn't kill it though, and that's the joy. It's a new creature that lives forever.