What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?
I find myself often at odds with poetry, or what people might consider or assume to be poetic. Sonic devices such as alliteration, for example, or figurative language, the move to compare two things, thereby detracting from the original thing itself.
After one of my readings before the pandemic, a woman complimented my work by saying that she was going to use a poem of mine in her classroom as an example of anti-climax, or anti-poetry (I did not ask if she was referring to Nicanor Parra’s poetics). I appreciated her comment, because I think I am inclined to practice a kind of anti (lyric)-poetry. My work does not strike me as explicitly emotive, meditative, or linguistically dazzling. Perhaps this is why I have always loved Charles Simic’s description of his early style from his “Art of Poetry” interview with the Paris Review: “I wanted something seemingly artless and pedestrian to surprise the reader by conveying so much more. In other words, I wanted a poem a dog can understand.” Not that I am comparing my work to Simic’s! But I was certainly encouraged to read such a statement from a Pulizter-Prize winning Poet Laureate (please forgive the alliteration).