“Poetry is not about an event. It is the event. Art is the resistance of complacency: It always stands in opposition to numbness. That is why it just doesn’t die, poetry—despite so many death notices. It is always there, waking us up when we get numb, poking us in the eye.”
—Ilya Kaminsky, in Garth Greenwell’s “Still Dancing” interview in the March/April issue of Poets & Writers Magazine (2019)
I’m a poet! What do I know about narrative? Nothing! But I want to learn.
and I knew the wound was made
for a way to stay alive.
Since there are so few opportunities to experience a feeling of freedom in my life, I do not allow rules and regulations to dictate my writing—it’s one thing I can control. I’ve always been a striver, and it just hasn’t brought me the satisfaction I thought it would. Also, my livelihood has never depended on a publication record. So, I’m trying to be done with striving when I have the ability to make that choice. Listen, I am middle-aged, I’m not trying to be a big deal, why should I make writing poems, something I love (and how many things do you really get to love in this life?), into another opportunity to suffer? I write when I can, wherever I am, and I am trying to accept this commitment to lawlessness.
“I remind myself that language isn’t my job. Writing a poem isn’t my job. My job is the human job of waiting and listening, and language is just what poets use—like wind chimes—to catch the sound of the larger, more essential thing. Wind chimes themselves are not the point. The point is the wind.”
—Jenny George, in “Wilder Forms: Our Fourteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets” in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine (2019); read the rest at pw.org!
“I’ve decided I don’t always have to be writing. I let myself live and try to let go of the pressure to always physically write. In some ways it feels like I’m collecting feeling. That’s not to say I don’t sit down and try regularly to get something on the page, but it might not look like a poem. It might look like writing in a journal about what I’ve seen and heard that day. That process helps me feel more willing to listen to what’s possible rather than predetermine what I think I should be on the page.”
—Analicia Sotelo, in “Wilder Forms: Our Fourteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets” in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine (2019); read the extended version on pw.org!
“I think that if you bang your head against the wall trying to create, you’re going to resent the process of creation. Usually when you reach an impasse it’s a signal to move on to another thing. Maybe you haven’t slept in a while. Maybe you need some time to ponder, to just stare at the wall. Maybe you need to live, truly be alive for a little and not near a computer. Maybe you need to read, see, watch—to refill your well.”
—Fatimah Asghar, in “Wilder Forms: Our Fourteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets” in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine (2019); read the extended version on pw.org!
“I wrote the poems…because I had not found them elsewhere. I needed text to represent and then transform the way that my body and my many iterations of self move through my life and its various environments.”
—Justin Phillip Reed, in “Wilder Forms: Our Fourteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets” in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine (2019); read the extended version online at pw.org!