How important is music to your poetry?
In the abstract, I usually find conversations about music and poetry aspirational rather than practical (and of course many of us have heard the expression “poetry aspires to the condition of music,” which is a lovely axiom, but hard-earned in any poet’s life—the full quote, from Walter Pater, acknowledges this difficulty: “All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music. For while in all other kinds of art it is possible to distinguish the matter from the form, and the understanding can always make this distinction, yet it is the constant effort of art to obliterate it.”) But also, three of my poems (confession: I wrote “songs” first, so Freudian slips are calling me out this morning!) in What Pecan Light steal their titles from Alabama songs: Song of the South, Dixieland Delight, and High Cotton. And soon I’m leading a workshop titled Digging up Bones: Writing Your Past (a nod to Randy Travis), so country music is a source text for me, and runs deep.