Monday, 8 August 2022

Bianca V. Gonzalez : part five

How does a poem begin?

Since I was in elementary school, a poem has always begun as a bodily sensation. I tend to feel it in my calves and arms, this transcendental itch that carries my focus into the mind, and uses my hands to gather words, lines, and thoughts and write them down quickly. It is messy and difficult and can really make a poet cringe. If you’re lucky, you might have the poem completed in your first draft. I live for those poems, I will wait on them for the rest of my life.

Grace Evans : part five

How does a poem begin?

A faint wisp of a whisper. First, a word, then a sentence. Then another, and another, repeating themselves over and over in my mind. Eventually, the words become loud enough for me to finally transcribe them, first onto a page and then onto a screen.

Sunday, 7 August 2022

Jennifer Bartlett : part nine

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

I feel bad, but I don't read a lot of poetry at this moment. I read Icelandic Mysteries and novels. Just finished Braggi's "the pets." Before that, I read Summer light and then comes the night - my favorite book. 

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Lauren Tess : part three

What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

What I probably find most difficult is, when sitting down to write, overcoming the thought of the reader and the inhibitions and desire to please that come with that. I also have endless trouble with titles!

Friday, 5 August 2022

Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad : part five

What do you feel poetry can accomplish that other forms can’t?

Poetry can be so many things at the same time - a story, a song, a painting. This protean quality is what distinguishes it from other forms of art. Poetry is also interactive - it is an invitation to the reader to bring a part of themselves into the universe of the poem, to find fragments of themselves in it.  My students often say that analyzing poetry is like solving a puzzle, or looking into a kaleidoscope - where so many levels of meaning and patterns emerge with different readings/turns. I think one of the most fascinating aspects of poetry is how totally unrelated images and concepts can be yoked together, juxtaposed, to forge new links, and create unexpectedly beautiful montages. 

Carla Sarett : part five

What other poetry books have you been reading lately?

—Diane Seuss’s Frank Sonnets, which reads like a noir novel.  I couldn’t put it down.

—Boris Dralyuck’s stylish and confident My Hollywood and Other Poems (Paul Dry Books)   This book also includes some fabulous translations, including poems by Vernon Duke. 

Radio Static (Green Linden Press) by James Hoch, such a moving tribute to a brother who fought in Afghanistan.  

—Polina Barskova’s This Lamentable City, (various translators, including Ilya Kaminsky) (Tupelo Press)— I want more from this highly original poet.  

—returning to Thomas Gunn’s The Man with the Night Sweats.  Gunn’s just a wonder, and I am glad to see other poets “rediscovering” him.  

Ella’s Plan by Jeffrey Bean (Contest Winner, The Poet’s Corner). These enchanting poems about a little girl won my heart. 

Thursday, 4 August 2022

Elizabeth Hazen : part three

What do you find most difficult about writing poetry? 

For me the greatest difficulty has always been taking myself seriously enough to justify the time and effort required to make strong poems. I sometimes feel guilty for spending time writing – it feels like such a privilege – so I need to remind myself that I am doing meaningful work. Then, of course, there is the writing itself, which requires commitment and discipline. Some days it feels impossible, but I keep coming back.

Nolcha Fox : part five

How does a poem begin?

I read poetry all the time. All the time. If I find a phrase that really strikes me, I write it in a notebook of prompts. When I’m running low on ideas, I check my notebook for inspiration.

I bookmark websites with poetry prompts (the April NaPoWriMo sites are the best!). If the prompts in my notebook don’t excite me, I’ll go to the poetry prompt websites.

One of the international group of writers I belong to has a generative writing session every other week, where we write to three prompts. Most of my poems that come out of those sessions have been published.

If all else fails, I use the Dave Birss creativity exercises. I’ve found them to be very helpful. I especially recommend:

This ‘N’ That

Story Dice

Writing Ideas

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Tuur Verheyde : part four

What poets changed the way you thought about writing?

Dorothy Parker was the first poet to really get me into poetry. Allen Ginsberg convinced me to let go of faux-formalism and solemnity. His poetry really got me experimenting with register, poetic voice, sound and imagery. Then Anne Sexton, in particular her work Transformations, made me fully appreciate the potential of narrative poetry. Finally, reading Audre Lorde lead to the fermentation of my personal poetics. In particular, her work revealed to me the value of writing shamelessly idiosyncratic work that is infused with a unique sense of personality, spirituality, symbolism and so on. Basically, the poetry of Audre Lorde showed me why the most popular model of contemporary poetry, mainly the aphoristic (often generic), purposefully relatable type is one that does not appeal to me, and why I am instead drawn to poetry that is distinct, ambiguous and deeply personal. For those who are interested, I wrote a more detailed essay on this topic, which you can find here:

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Evan Williams : part two

Has your consideration of poetry changed since you began?

If it had not, I would still be taking myself seriously. 

Joanna Fuhrman : part two

How did you first engage with poetry?

In elementary school, I remember being obsessed with Emily Dickinson’s “I’m Nobody, who are you?” And then in fifth grade, we had to memorize Blake’s “The Tyger,” which I loved. In both cases, poetry was something that I would say to myself as I walked around the playground. I also remember being in middle school and writing a poem in front of a pizza shop that would later burn down and feeling like I was struck by lightning. It was a terrible poem, but it got me to go to the library and look for poetry books to read. At the school library and at the library near my parents’ office, I found Rich’s book Leaflets and Orr’s Gathering the Bones together, both of which spoke to me.

Monday, 1 August 2022

Bianca V. Gonzalez : part four

Why is poetry important?

Poetry is important because it is an extension of the soul. What our minds and hearts cannot say, poetry can expel in seconds. When we use language as an extension of the body to produce cosmic dynamism, we are left feeling satisfied, elated, and in turn, have the courage to talk about what is not being said, and hope that others can do the same. 

Grace Evans : part four

What poets changed the way you thought about writing?

All the wonderful individuals in my writing communities – online and local. Ever since becoming a part of them, I read and hear so many vivid, diverse voices on a daily basis, which continuously re-shape the way I think about both writing and poetry as a whole. I am so grateful for them!