How does a poem begin?
Every poem has its own origin story. Some begin with a title, some with an image, others with a phrase or even a whole line. Some begin in response to a poem that has come before, or they are born of dreams. I often compare a poem with a trap. The trick, I think, is to lure readers into the trap with the title; then the first line has to capture their attention and lock the door behind them. The poem’s trap needs to be so well constructed that the reader stays “in” it until the last word—if the poem has a weak spot, that’s a potential hole through which a reader might slip out and turn the page or go make a sandwich. And if the trap is good enough, readers—even if they’re not exactly sure what the poem was about—will want to go back to the top and enter the poem again. And again.