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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Interviews with Two Poets

Here are a few terrific interviews with poets.

For the first I have to give a shout-out to poet extraordinaire Mari L'Esperance, who told me about this interview with Kundiman fellow Janine Oshiro at Lantern Review Blog. One of the most interesting points for me was when Oshiro talked about forming a manuscript from her poems and thinking about it as a single work with an arc, and how this larger perspective showed her new poems that she could write to complement the ones that existed. I was also cheered by her statement that poets need to be comfortable with their own processes, and not focus on quantity of output.

Another interview I enjoyed this week was a New Letters on the Air podcast by Angela Elam, talking with James Richardson.  Richardson talks about how the mood necessary for writing poetry is the opposite of the feeling of being productive. He says that when he makes himself write, he ends up writing the same old stuff. He explained that "it takes vast amounts of space" in order to come up with something new. Later he reiterates that particularly when ending up a book, "when everything you are thinking about is coming together...and you know everything, or think you do...", you can sit down and write a poem and get three lines into it and realize it is an old poem, which is why you need free time to "get back to your ignorance, back to your sense that you don't really know." "It's possible to be new just by your ignorance again," he says when comparing writing to the process of recent research in physics. Isn't that comforting?

Well, I've been a big fan of James Richardson for awhile, which is why I've posted about him one, two, three times in the past. And now I can't wait to get familiar with Janine Oshiro's work as well. Enjoy these interviews.


Mari said...

Thanks, Jessica! Yes, I love that interview with Oshiro, too. I'm glad you've posted it here so more folks can know about her work. And James Richardson's approach to writing reminds me of Buddhist "beginner's mind," which is *so* hard, yet necessary, too, I've found.

Jessica Goodfellow said...

There is so much to learn from so many writers, isn't there? Thanks for introducing me to Janine Oshiro.
I hadn't connected Richardson's "possible to be new by ignorance again" with "beginner's mind" but you are right--there's a strong parallel. How insightful you are!

Mari said...

Not insightful -- I've just lived long enough to have a few things filed away in the old gray matter! : )