Fred Schmalz is the author of Action in the Orchards (Nightboat Books, 2019). He makes art in the collaborative Balas & Wax. His writing has appeared in Oversound, Poetry, A Public Space, Conduit, and elsewhere. He lives in Chicago.
Photo credit: Susy Bielak
How does a poem begin?
For me the poem begins with an encounter and an utterance about that encounter, which may happen at very different times. So, a recognition—here is something that gets to me, that I can’t quite shake, that moves me, that I have forgotten and recalled, or that I have seen and have to address. I rarely sit down to write “about” something—instead I rely on forgetting and the allowance for encounters to resurface while I am writing. I try to allow the imagery to serve as the starting points for poems.