Writing for me has always been a kind of spiritual practice. To
my own detriment. I was reading recently that when a person first
begins to meditate, they shouldn't chastise their mind for the thoughts
that they have, that they should instead acknowledge that they are
there, but not try to eliminate them. I think the example used in
the book was to think of them as clouds passing by. I tend to do
this with information in my poems. There's often the editor in me
who goes back into a poem like these and tries to cut cut cut.
But I like the clouds. They seem to be as important as the
emptiness they seem to be leading toward. When I say these are a
detriment to my own writing, I guess I mean that often people will say,
"you should cut this section, it isn't doing substantial service to the
poem." To me though, they are. Not serving the "poem" can
be as important as serving the "poem."
Are there any particular kinds of language that tend to crop up as
those clouds more frequently?
I often try to honor conversations I have with other people in my work.
If my work is somehow a representation of who I am, the conversations
that shape this "am" is equally as important. Now that I think of it,
the line "I wish I could live at the same time" comes from a
conversation I had with a second grader in Okoboji where I was talking
to him about one of his poems. I asked about a line about his father.
He said, "well, my my mom died last year, I wish I could live at the
same time as both of my parents." It broke my heart. I had to honor