On Writing Poetry

After you write a poem, it takes around four months for it to ferment and appear as if someone else had written it.

I’m flipping through pianissimo and realizing all of its uncomfortable flaws—awkward phrases, dusty line breaks, strange rhythms. The only one that has remained fresh (i.e. I can read without shuddering) is “Kloster Medingen,” which is funny, because that poem was written on a whim in the dark of a train in Germany. I revised the poem just once, the revisions merely a few naked words.

Now, working on my second collection, I feel strangely at home. Writing poetry is still nerve-wracking, but it’s no longer terrifying. The process has transformed into a useful tool and a consistent refuge—a whetstone to sharpen my words, a cave to pass the stormy nights.

Perhaps when I complete this collection, I’ll review it in May and feel the same type of reddening embarrassment. Or, perhaps, I’ll think instead of the progress I’ve made, the newfound strength I’ll have in my bones.


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