Jason Tandon is the author of four books of poetry including, The Actual World (Black Lawrence Press, 2019) and Give Over the Heckler and Everyone Gets Hurt (Black Lawrence Press, 2009), winner of the St. Lawrence Book Award for a first collection. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, North American Review, AGNI Online, and elsewhere. He is a senior lecturer in the Arts & Sciences Writing Program at Boston University.
Photo credit: Kishan N. Tandon
How does a poem begin?
A poem for me most often begins with something I have observed in the natural world. In his essay “Dull Subjects,” Bill Matthews lists a “short but comprehensive summary of the subjects of lyric poetry,” the first one being: “I went out in the woods today and it made me feel, you know, sort of religious.” I don’t know about religious, but spiritual, yes—poetic, almost always.