Saturday, February 18, 2012


JH: Poetry may be what is omitted from some unknown whole. Aside from Twain's autobiography, have there been any other writings that have had an influence on your own? Influence seems to be a matter of sympathy, identification, recognition. Could one pick a text at random and assign oneself influence? Does sympathy inspire the specifics of inspiration? If someone were influenced sympathetically by Moby-Dick, for instance, that person may write a text devoid of whales and the sea, whereas someone who picked Moby-Dick at random might be sure to include whales and the sea.

AHB: I’m not sure why but it has been difficult to reply to your questions, as evidenced by my slow response time. It seems like certain writings elicit a sequence of response. I think of The Maximus Poems, which seemed impermeable but at the same time, a map driven for me. I think one can and people do pick a text randomly and assign influence. In such a case, the writer has a necessity, inchoate or undefined, that needs a resolving effort. The text then becomes the field of concern, because it already as authority. I agree quite with the observation of your last sentence. The sympathic influence creates inventive pathways. Random entrance to the work, like by a literature class, would respond to the obvious salients.

Friday, February 03, 2012


JH: What inspired you to write an autobiographical book? I'm looking forward to it! Do you see autobiography as yet another narrative, with authorial insight which may or may not be shared with the reader? Can more be omitted from an autobiography than can be omitted from a poem? In other words, is there an essential of autobiography as there is an essential of poetry? The omission of a single word, phrase, or line can strip a poem of the poetic, leaving it a text. Is there such a fatal omission in autobiography? Would the omission lie in the author's approach to the autobiography rather than in specific words?

AHB: Autobiography is narrative, and an available one (I know the subject). For me, I must speak of specific events in my family that has left me ruptured from my brothers. That’s a deep well. But I do not want to omit goofy things, happy things, and the radiating spans of life. Reading the first volume of Twain’s autobiography last year helped me formulate the idea to write. He wrestled with format then finally just wrote as it came. So I have allowed myself to ramble. What I consciously omit will be what seems boring to me. Jung writes about how the conscious mind refuses what it cannot comprise, hence the unconscious. Yet the unconscious, we understand, makes itself known. I have always trusted that the less I get in the way of the writing process the more valuable, or at least interesting, the writing. In a sense, whatever I omit is still there.