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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stallings Interviewed by Gylys

Here's a great interview of poet A. E. Stallings by poet Beth Gylys. The link is to the Poetry Daily Prose Feature, but the original interview comes from Five Points.

Stallings discusses a few of my obsessions: motherhood and writing, and formal writing. Below enjoy an exchange from the interview.


Gylys says: In an interview in Valparaiso, you said, "I do need some sort of difficulty, though, to catch myself off balance, to make me keep my wits about me, to keep the right brain from knowing what the left brain is doing, as it were (or is it vice versa?)." I love this idea that form somehow confuses you enough to free you at the same time. I often talk to my students about this need to find ways to get out of our own way. . . .

Stallings replies: I do believe that form is not about having control, but about giving up control, or the illusion of control, to the poem. A rhyme might give you permission to say something that you might have hesitated to say, or might not even have thought to say. It opens up the possibilities, for me, rather than closing them down. I find that I do have to have some sort of surface difficulty, usually, to get purchase on a poem. But not so much difficulty that it becomes an exercise in cleverness. I try to let the poem make its own rules. But I suppose all poets do that in their own way.

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