I wrote a poem called that years ago. The subtitle (I rarely use those) is "Reading Nijinski’s Diaries." I first read them when I was at Iowa. It’s been many years since I’ve revisited them though. Tonight I couldn’t sleep and the baby is only responsible for the first hour. The rest, I must take… Continue reading Sleepless Nights
What’s the strangest place you’ve ever given a poetry reading? Once I agreed to do 2 readings at a women’s festival. The setting was a place that used to be a lodge or club. The space where I was to read used to be a restaurant. About 100 people attended the afternoon reading, and it… Continue reading Strangeness
This time of year is always the hardest for me. Even though we don’t have a true winter in Houston, there’s the seasonal ebb that draws memory, mind, and body along with it. I go through phases in which I stop reading and try not to think so much. Maybe it’s a human version of… Continue reading This Time
Another true confession from yours truly: I think that the DJ is one of the main metaphors that informs my understanding of what it means to be a poet. I love the idea that a poet takes "things as they are," to borrow Stevens’ phrase and then arranges them to create another world. The aim… Continue reading To Mix
Over at Asleep Inside an Old Guitar, handsome Eduardo Corral issued a dare. Having watched way too many old westerns, I find it hard to take such words lightly. He wants to see (gasp!) a page from each poet’s notebook. So in this ruse of literary strip poker, here you go, amigo: You may not… Continue reading A Poet’s Notebook
Let's say you won one of those very fancy *genius* awards. Hypothetically, of course, let's say that after taxes, you'd end up with $80K a year for 5 years. What changes, if any, would you make in your life? Would you quit your job? Are there foreign countries that you'd want to visit? Maybe you'd… Continue reading The Million Dollar Question
Is writing an isolated activity for you? Describe your ideal writing situation. What environmental factors seem most relevant to good writing for you?
Okay. Tell us about your very first publication. An email from fiction writer Ann Bogle led me to start thinking about this question. She told me that for her first poetry publication, only a vanity press would do.
Tell us about a time when you experienced the so-called writer’s block and then found a way to move through it. My method/madness tends to be interdisciplinary. I dwell in music or art or film until something starts happening. As I’ve gotten older, I find that I am more comfortable with unproductive weeks or months. … Continue reading Traffic
Rereading the Oulipo Compendium tonight. Here are some lines that caught my eye. They’re from Queneau’s 100,000,000,000,000 Poems. The poems of this sequence are sonnets–of a sort. The lines of these sonnets are interchangeable. In other words, line 11 of any sonnet could be exchanged with line 11 of any of the other sonnets in… Continue reading 100,000,000,000,000 Poems by Raymond Queneau
Do you ever write about food? I don’t think I do that very much, but I’m going to have to review my manuscript to make sure. Several of my friend Long’s most beautiful poems are about food. What about you?
Have you ever done a project that crossed genres? Maybe a painting with your writing in it? Dance combined with poetry? I like that kind of thing, as you might guess from the fact that I somehow rationalize adding photography to almost every post I make to this blog about writing.
We all know that most poets cannot support themselves by writing poems. Even for artists and prose writers, it’s a huge challenge. Therefore a career is usually required. What do you consider the ideal career to augment the creative life? How similar is that ideal to your current situation?
At what point in the creative process do you usually come up with your title? Obviously it varies from project to project, but often I come up with a title first or early on. I "float" the title in my mind for a while. Weeks, months maybe. Sometimes a poem emerges, sometimes not. This summer… Continue reading Title Waves
Emily Dickinson starts one poem, “I’ll tell you how the Sun rose–/ A ribbon at a time–.” Probably for many of us, our visual perception of the world around us prevails over the other senses. At least it wouldn’t surprise me if that were true. I wonder if anyone remembers the Noon Quilt? I’m not… Continue reading Look