JH: I think that occasionally plowing ahead regardless of the content of the preceding installment helps Monster power along. One can always return to the content later - and who knows? maybe the installment is informed somehow by the previous seemingly-unanswered installment. Is any poem alive if unpublished? It's alive as long as at least one person - the author - reads it. A body of poetical work - whether it's one poet's amassment of poems or a large poem (such as Monster) - informs a poet's thinking as much as extra-literary personal memories. Do you agree? How few of one's poems are needed to be a part of one's memories? A single poem may do, with lines and words giving the ambiguity and complexity needed for mulling. One may compare a poem with another poem, but can one compare lines and words of a single poem without the poem losing coherence and falling apart into a collection of words and lines (the lines now becoming sentences... how few lines before the lines become sentences? - is enjambment the magic key?)?
AHB: Powering ahead despite content I guess is a way of staying loose, off the rail. We've mentioned already a sort of vamping that we do occasionally, riffs that don't push this content but nonetheless add a tension, as well as a curious stretch. I have a lot of poems sitting on the hard drive, and a terrific amount in notebooks, that I have never looked at since I wrote them. Most of them I have no memory of writing. When I make my occasional treks thru those exhibits, some of these poems come alive. If I tried to make a list of my poems, one's that I can really picture (I have none by memory, that's for sure), the number would be, what, twenty? Well, perhaps more, but those others are if not dead at least inanimate, until that Frankenstein scene I already alluded to. The work is all learning, I'll admit that. With my early writing, muchly what I'd hope for in a poem is a line or two that I liked, the rest of he lines just gave evidence of my lack of skill. But those few lines, they are direct evidence of my not just wanting to write a poem, but taking steps toward. Young writers are hopeful that they will indeed make a poem. At some point, clarity of task insinuates itself into the process. Enjambment and disjunction are important to my sense of poetry, by virtue of their non-prosaicness. Ugh, what would be a better way of saying that? The simple trick of enjambment brings metre or breathe into the writing. Our vamping phrasal riffs in Monster, which don't make sense re the content, sound (two meanings there) a poetics. The rhythm section takes over for a few bars, but not to say melody and harmony are over. Are you as cool about writing as you seemed? I'm a nervous nutty wreck.