Sunday, July 24, 2005


JH: Once I write the poem, I'll read it aloud in my head. Sometimes I'll change a word or line to get a sound I prefer more. My punctuation! This is something important to my composing. I use commas and dashes to make sentences. I realize there's often ambiguity as to whether a comma is part of a sentence within a line or marks the end of a sentence within a line. This I hope allows for closer and/or more creative readings, though I don't do this intentionally. I rarely use end-line punctuation unless it's part of the sentence. I like using commas for parenthetical purposes, which drags the rhythm then releases it back into the stream. Also, commas make the parenthetical seem less parenthetical than parenthesis marks would. The parenthetical is never parenthetical, else it would not be there in the first place. An addition is an addition whether one whispers it in parenthesis marks or places it more equally alongside other words. What compositional approaches do you often use, and why?

AHB: That's pretty fascinating, the way you've burrowed into the poem's forming. Your punctuation has always seemed idiosyncratic to me, tho effective, whereas mine is more straightforward. A lot of my writing works off of or into sentences. This is my most narrative writing. It moves 'forward' with phrasal hops. I am less likely to use sentences if I write in lines rather than prose blocks. I twiddle with the differences. Long ago I derived a lesson from Guillaume Apollinaire, his eschewing of punctuation entirely. I saw the demand of different approaches. To be honest, I don't think about my process much. I am comfortable at a subconscious level in which the idea is the action. Only in recent years have I attempted to think thru the process. I wanted to collaborate with you because I saw this as a way of confronting my own means. And I have experimented with other methods, using some of the tools in the flarf toolbox and so forth to shake up my methodology. I sound boring here but in fact I have developed a bubbly confidence the last few years, secure in the adventure of finding something. Your writing seems confident in its diversity. Are you as confident as your writing seems? Are you ever hindered or helped by theory?


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