Monday, June 09, 2014


JH: When writing a poem, I can only think of that particular poem; thoughts of its publication or its inclusion in an ideal collection follow. Can I say that when I write an Actaeon poem it is as though I never wrote an Actaeon poem before, when there are recurrences of phrases? I cannot tell whether these recurrences are intentional, whether I have my prior Actaeon poems in mind. Do you keep drafts of a poem in mind when you are writing that poem? It is hard for me to ascertain whether I keep drafts in mind; if I do it is fleeting, as I typically write a poem in one day, in one sitting; I know, thanks to the drafts, what to avoid and what to approach. The difference between drafts and poems in a series is a poet may revisit poems and phrases within the construction of a series, whereas in an individual poem the drafts are lost unless appended to the finished, decided poem.
As far as the preservation and presentation of my Actaeon poems, perhaps a chapbook of the 16 poems. I could also include those 16 poems as a section in a collection of my poems.

AHB: I just hope your Actaeon poems are given a wider broadcast. I don't want to read poetry written to serve publication. Such will only be crowded onto a tippy pedestal.

I don't really have drafts of poems anymore. I write, reach a place where the poem says it is done, then fuss with it, most often in one sitting. Changes are made by overwriting. Whatever is overwritten is gone. I don't fear losing anything as I overwrite. A poem is an instant.

I don't mean to denigrate a sustained and formal rewriting process. My own poetry writing process demands that I surprise myself. This actually shows more clearly in the reviews and ruminations that I put on my No Awardwinning blog Tributary (www.tribute-airy, Word choices appear that I didn't expect. In my poetry, disjunctive slips and leaps radiate the poem that I write. A poem is a momentary breeze or whatnot. It is not something I can fix, but only honour by writing it down.

Your writing has changed much over the years, as I have been witness to. Has your reading changed?