Search This Blog

Friday, August 19, 2011

Practice Makes Crazy, Sometimes

In an interview with Dennis Morton on The Poetry Show radio show (scroll to the date 8/14/11), poet Troy Jollimore, in addition to reading many of his singular poems, answered a question about his writing practice with the following comforting admission. Jollimore said that he didn't have a writing practice that worked effectively for a long period of time, that he would find a practice or routine that worked for awhile, and then it would stop working, and he would have to find another.

Furthermore, he reported that he himself had received solace from the visits of poets Jane Hirshfield and James Richardson to the campus where he taught (I think it's Chico State), whose responses to the question of writing practice were that they did not write every day. Even an  award-winning poet like Jollimore found that helpful for his anxieties.

I aspire to write daily and to have a  practice taken seriously not only by myself but by those around me, but these things don't happen always, with family and work and everything else going on. It's nice to be in such fine company, to know that others experience anxiety about practice and still prevail.

Enjoy the whole interview and especially Jollimore's generously-natured reading.


Mari said...

Jessica, I'm sure many poets don't write every day. Remember Ocean Vuong's interview you posted here? I think it's important that each of us finds a writing practice that works for *us*! Writing every day might be the way to go for some, not writing every day (and its various permutations) might work better for others. I'm tired of feeling ashamed for not following some prescribed "holy writing practice". Really, it's all so subjective... Thanks for this!

Jessica Goodfellow said...

Mari, I too was thinking about Ocean Vuong when I heard this podcast, and wrote this post. Then I wondered if I was being fair by twice presenting this side of writing practice (the irregular schedule) and not citing people who insist on the daily practice. Oh well. You can't read much about writing without hearing the daily practice theory, so I won't worry about it!