Some treasures for your poet soul

Even though the light is coming back, there is still plenty of darkness (actual and perhaps metaphorical to go around. Thank you Terri Windling for reminding me of this beauty.)


What is the single most important thing for a young poet to know about writing poetry?

Today’s answer, since tomorrow’s would surely be different: Write the poem that only you could have written.

Trust your experience of the world, of your own life, of the poem. Trust that the world matters, that your life matters, that your words matter. Then doubt all these things enough to ask if what you’ve written is sufficient, surprising, contains art’s mysterious surplus. Has the poem found something that it, and you, did not know before it was written? Have you found fully and accurately the images, the phrases, the story, the feeling, the arc and surge of transformation? Then trust again, because if you only doubt, you will overwork the dough until no living yeast remains in it; if you over-doubt, you will try to please others instead of your own sense of the poem, of your life, of the world. Be willing for your work to be odd, peculiar, to be itself in the way a giraffe is itself and knows no other shape or gait of being. By such strange inventions of existence, the poem becomes the poem, the world becomes the world, a person becomes, perhaps, a more fully human person.    

the amazing Jane Hirshfield, being interviewed by Mary Mackey on Marsh House Press

One Reply to “Some treasures for your poet soul”

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Erin. The section you quoted hit me right in the gut and right in the heart. I read the whole interview and loved it. Thanks. Perfect words for this moment. Happy New Year!

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