And I’m never really sure if I’m leading or following when I write a poem. I do feel like I’m
playing a game, but I’m not really sure who I’m playing that game with or to what end. There
are a lot of unanswerable questions in poetry. There is some kind of unknowability when it
comes to poetry, but I think there are things to teach and learn about poetry, like practice. I
think you can practice this opening up, this game playing.
I read poems. One thing I can say that inspires me is poetry, other poets. Before I start writ-
ing, typically, I read someone else. Which reminds me of something I love, playfulness,
invention, surprise, and it makes me competitive. There is also appreciation. I see someone
else writing, and I want to write, too.
Elisabeth:
I really like this idea of opening. I also have certain rituals to create that space,
that openness, many of which pertain to reading, as well. Usually, before I start writing, I
will sit down and read something and be inspired by it. Sometimes it’s poetry, sometimes
it’s fiction, sometimes it’s also looking at images as well. I’m the biggest obstacle to my own
writing. I have to create a space where I can get out of the way. I really like the idea of open-
ing a space.
I know why I write. I write because I feel whole when I do it. It’s the time I feel most myself.
Who have you been reading recently?
Eric:
There’s a Russian poet, Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, and I’m reading him in translation.
I’m really enjoying that a lot. He recently died, and I know very little about him other than
this one book. He’s a language poet, but it’s not that kind of cold experiment that I think a lot
of people associate language poetry with. A lot of poems call themselves elegy’s, so they’re
very tender and sad, and there is a lot of feeling in them, mixed with this kind of interesting
experimentation.
Who are some of favorite poets?
Elisabeth:
Wallace Stevens, maybe?
Eric:
Definitely Wallace Stevens for me. I don’t read him very often now. Frank O’Hara, I
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