Sunday, December 18, 2005


JH: Just in the sense of a poem's first few lines and the vague shape of the rest of the poem appearing out of nowhere. Is it a matter of being born a poet, or having one's quotidian thought-processes shaped into such a receptacle by consistent reading and thinking on matters poetic? Does this consistency come about because one is born a poet? Is the birth of a poet coincident with the birth of the person who is a poet (the human who comes to write poetry, as one is born blind, for instance), or does the birth come later in life - birth as in something new coming into the world? If the birth comes later in life, how much of the poet eats away at the person who wasn't then a poet? If one's thoughts are consistently bent toward the poetic, this does make one considerably different from someone whose thoughts aren't thus directed. Natal versus Intrusion is an appropriate dichotomy for this line of questioning?

AHB: I feel like I was born a poet, and I know that sound icky. but truth is, I was writing poetry for 2 years before I really started to like it. any poetry, that is, not just my poor effort. but poetry was the way 'it' came out. and study definitely made it present as a shaping. but I think you're speaking of something more marvelous than my Paris Review sort of answer. you sound alchemical here (by the way, a young writer I know, he's 10 or 11 now, has a character named Dr. Al Chemical Jones), or Jungian, perhaps. "How much of the poet eats away at the person who wasn't then a poet?" wow! without sounding too romantic, it does feel like poetry intruded into my life, possibly at the realization that I wasn't going to become the next Willie Mays. the director calls the shots. well, change gears, I treated myself to a recent publication event, the finally appearance of Ted Berrigan's collected. he seems like a born poet in that poetry seems so constantly about him. I don't want to typify him too much, he's gotten enough of that as it is (doped out wildman), but he certainly was focused on poetry. I'm not sure where I'm going with this. perhaps I should just setle for asking if you think there are sacrifices to be made as an artist?


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