Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Four Questions (nothing to do with Passover)--or--the nature of work

Women making dumplings to order
--right there, on the spot, before your eyes, not until you have placed your order--
at FFY Noodle House in Rowland Heights, California

A long-time poetry friend tagged me to post on this my blog my answers to four questions about my writing. As soon as I figure out how to access her blog I'll read her answers too. Here are mine:

1. What Are You Working On?
A book-length collection, The Book of Knots and Their Untying; three different sestinas that resist closure; poems about death; poems that are not about death.
2. How Does Your Work Differ From Others In Its Genre?
I keep bringing in the psychological angle. Actually, I don’t have to bring it in; it shows up as soon as I start thinking. Also, when I seem to be most ironic, then I am being most accurate and direct. Also also, I write a lot of sardonic sonnets and literary limericks.
3. Why Do You Write What You Write About?
I write about what I notice. I write about why I notice what I notice. I try to explain to myself why something is remarkable, or weird. I write to give voice to what we are not supposed to notice.
4. How Does Your Writing Process Work?
Sneakily, mostly. Kicks in at the last minute. Maybe I’ll circle around and around, returning to some draft for three years. Or write a sonnet in an hour. Or free-write, and return to it months later. Or play Minesweeper for an hour and then write what I was trying not to think about. Or I’ll achieve that semi-trance state in which I am following an imaginal thread, swinging and grabbing the next metaphorical vine, almost taking dictation, ignoring what seems to be a disjunctive image or thought and then swerving back to it and hearing it out. All the while ducking the voice that says, That’s not a real poem. Or telling it to shut up.

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