I’d say that I’ve always been interested in art, like my parents really made an effort
to involve me in art. My mother was really pushing me toward art. I was always going to
plays, doing art summer camps, and I was always very interested in language, but I was not
interested in the kind of reading and writing that was happening in school. I never thought
of myself as a writer, certainly. I thought of myself as an actor. Although I did win 2nd place
at the Dixie Classic Fair one fall. But really, I started thinking of myself as a writer probably
around the same time [Elisabeth] did.
Why poetry?
I don’t really know! I really love poetry. I think I’m like most people in that I enjoy
reading stories more than reading poems. When hearing a story, you can just relax and
listen. But I’ve never been able to write short stories. I don’t have the aptitude for it. And
then there are stories in a poetic form. I think my mind enjoys associative work more than it
enjoys narrative work. I like leaps, I like turns, I like surprise, but I want it to happen quickly.
There is something distinct about poetry. It’s something to do, for me, with studying how the
sentence moves the mind. That’s what interests me the most. There are writers who work on
the sentence level, but mostly, being interested in character and narrative doesn’t typically
work at the sentence level.
Fiction writers move in broad strokes, and working with different elements of language. I’m
working at the sentence level.
I feel the same way. I think of myself as a jeweler, being able to do very precise
work. I can sit and work two hours on a line and that for me is fulfilling. I started out want-
ing to tell stories, to use those broad strokes, but it doesn’t feel natural for me. When I write
naturally, this is what I gravitate toward, in terms of language, of music, of sound, of atmo-
sphere, in mood. It’s what I work for instead of larger murals, larger narratives.
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