Thursday, January 04, 2007

Questions to a Poet

Rethabile at Poefrica has a meme that ... well ... I have try.

Question one: Why do you write poetry (or literature) at all?
Because I can. Because I'm kinda good at it. Because I feel more myself with poetry in my life.

Question two: What is your favourite poem? You know, the one you'd have loved to have written, the one by whose standard you base all other works of art. If your life depended on answering this question, what poem would you suggest to the person holding the knife to your throat?
Too many to choose just one:

"Keeping Things Whole"--Mark Strand
"The Routine Things Around the House"--Stephen Dunn
"The Takers"--Sharon Olds
"somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond"--e.e. cummings

Question three: According to you, what is the state of poetry today? Is poetry flourishing or dying?
Hard to say. I think overall, poetry is flourshing as a result of creative writing programs, as well as through self-publishing, Web zines, blogs and community-based groups. But, poetry is still the least-selling genre of literature in publishing today. It is the least-selling genre, period.

Question four: What kind of poetry (or literature) do you dislike, and would not consider buying?
Hmmm. I'll consider all types of poetry. But this site, leaves me scratching my head. Some of the selections are just bizarre; and yet, I'm glad their out there.

Question five: Between the styles of Come (by Makhosana Xaba) and word speaks (by Kojo Baffoe) which do you prefer? Care to tell us why? Obviously, Makhosana and Kojo aren't required to answer this question.
I like them both. Thank you for introducing me to these poets.

Question six: What was the last poetry book you bought?
Late to Work by David Tucker

Question seven: Where do you go for poetry on the Web?
Other than Poetry Thursday? I go to, as well as the links on my blog.

Question eight: Do you talk poetry (or literature) with friends and family? "Hi honey -- Hey, I read this incredible poem today..."
Occasionally. I have a few coworkers that like Mary Oliver. Otherwise, I keep my poetry discussions to those who write it and read it regularly. If I'm passionate about a poem I'll share it with anyone, and I'll never turn down an opportunity to talk about poetry.

Question nine: What one piece of advice would you give to a beginning poet (or writer in general)? Pick a poet and read all of their works, as if you were listening to the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. I mean, don't just settle for one book or an anthology. Consider the period in which he/she wrote. Does the poet's work improve or decline over time? Once you have a good handle on that poet, read the poets they read.

Question nine A: What would you tell them to do or not to do?
Don't wait for inspiration, publication, or recognition. Just write.

Question ten: What line comes to you after the following two verses (in other words, please write the third verse -- these are spontaneous lines from me and are no part of any poem I'm writing or will be writing).
When the light from the lantern
beamed and fell upon the child,
a softness opened inside of me
I knew I was not alone.


Rethabile said...

I read the favourite poems. Wow. That Dunn can sure write.

Your answers remove some cobwebs and offer insight, for me as well as for others I'm sure. Cheers, and thank you...

bb said...

'Don't wait for inspiration, publication, or recognition. Just write.'

Wise words indeed, January - love the meme!

jim said...

Favorite poem -- that is a tough one to answer.

I do like your Strand choice. It has always been one of my favs.

The one poem I always come back to is -- Sensationalism by Larry Levis. Another is The Iron Lung by Stan Plumly.

Dana said...

Man, I want to read your answers, but I feel like I have to do the meme myself first, then I can see how your answers compare with mine. OK, I will try to do this meme soon, then I can come back and look at your responses.

twitches said...

I love the Strand poem, as well. Interesting answers!


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