Friday, August 05, 2005


JH: Yes, I think you answered my question. Sometimes a poem stalls after a few lines - I can see a few lines ahead but don't know how to get to them. Sometimes writing is onerous. I learn from successes instead of failures, and when a poem refuses to show itself, I feel as if my time could be better spent otherwise. Plowing ahead could lead to success, but to me success is when the poem arrives fairly quickly as a first draft. I dislike it when there's a poem to be written but I can only grab a part and have to heave the rest of it into view. Turning to your second question, after I had been writing steadily for a year I said this is it, I am a poet. Yet I was committed to it a year before, and really had no thought for its future. When I realized I had been writing almost daily for a year, I was surprised. I think I lost sense of time. When did you first know?

AHB: I probably didn't accept that I was a writer, a poet even, for maybe 2 years after I started. And I was a steady, prolific writer. I remember feeling meek at Franconia amongst other writers, in what I perceived as the big leagues (a college writing course). Until I realized that the others were no more practiced in the art than I was. And I saw my own dedication outstepping theirs, meaning only that I wrote more. I've already mentioned that I redate my beginning as a writer to 6 years ago, when it all came together for me in some kind of visionary bingo. I feel abashed to look at the 30 years of juvenalia that I accrued, but am pleased to say I kept cranking away. Are you happy now to look at your early work? Not just as process, but as works themselves? I think the greatest lesson for most writers, artists, is developing the ability to see their own work. That may be part of my rebirth. Can you read your work with the same critical eye you give to other writers? If so, was this something you could always do or did you need to learn?


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