How does a poem begin?
With a word, of course. Or a number. Or a signal, sign, emblem, curse, re-nunciation, slap... sometimes even a kiss. Definitely not an emoji. There are limits!
How does your work first enter the world? Do you have a social group or writers group that you work ideas and poems with?
I send my work out to sites that seem conducive to my style and content. I don't have any poet friends; the two I did have have both died. But as far as the process goes, I've always worked alone. On the other hand, I have many friends in the visual arts, because I also paint and sculpt and conceive of visions.
How does a poem begin?
Sometimes it is a thought, an opening line, or a hook that can be employed in the poem. One begins tentatively, but soon, a certain force overtakes one, and the poem takes a form of its own, many times far away from the original idea.
When you require renewal, is there a particular poem or book that you return to? A particular author?
Recently, we felt out of hope at our house and pulled out a couple of Mary Oliver books to soak in her nature poems. She’s not a poet I read very much, but we definitely needed her poems then. One of my favorite poems is from Dorianne Laux’s Facts About the Moon. I love the simplicity and grace of the language as well as the varied sentence length. I’m drawn to it because I see myself in every line, especially “I never wondered. I read.”
Moon in the Window
I wish I could say I was the kind of child
who watched the moon from her window,
would turn to it and wonder.
I never wondered. I read. Dark signs
that crawled toward the edge of the page.
It took me years to grow a heart
from paper and glue. All I had
was a flashlight, bright as the moon,
a white hole blazing beneath the sheets.
Has your consideration of poetry changed since you began?
Yes. Less people should consider themselves poets. It's a slush avalanche of meaninglessness. Poetry is a trifle; it's "poets" that feel they must be important. It's self-serving and egocentric. Poetry is something you read when you sit on the toilet. Leave importance to shaman, and their little adjuncts, doctors. I remember in my youth submitting by post and waiting three months or more for any response. Spoiled kids, these days. And really, who gives a damn? In the long run, it just doesn't pay. Unless you're Shel Silver-stein.