<Previous      Next>
Your daughter appears explicitly in "Greeting," and the fairy tale forms part of the backbone of "No Light. Tiny Warmth." Is this gesture to address the child or the childish an important part of your poetics?

I think, at some level, all poems address the childish, simply because oftentimes poems are a return to a language that is rhythmic or repetitive or playful--a kind of experimentation with language that, in many ways, comes much more naturally to children than adults.  So in that sense I always hope to be childish.

In terms of content, "No Light.  Tiny Warmth" was actually written just after I watched the "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.  I was thinking about our cultural and historical obsession with the hero's journey, often manifested as a specific search for a specific item (a ring, a princess, pot brownies, whatever).  I set myself the task of writing a poem about three characters on a perpetual journey with no purpose.  No goal, no end, no bittersweet reunion with Penelope. 

"Greeting" was written after the birth of my daughter.  Sleep-deprived and lacking motivation, the form of the anaphora gave me the solace of a launching place for each line.  I didn't know the poem had anything to do with my daughter until I got to the last stanza.  I consider myself to be an imaginative and creative person, but the first year or two of a child's life do not really involve getting to use these gifts for the sake of the child.  There is instead a shit ton of repetition.  When the words finally come they are mostly bricks: nouns and verbs that spark and then sit heavily with nowhere to go.  Ironically, much of my "childishness" had to be put on hold (mostly) for a few months while I became the inhabitor of a very practical world.  But it's wonderful too, to see language evolve.  My daughter created her first sentence yesterday and it was ridiculously exciting--memory!  narrative!  huzzah! 

I am very far away from the initial question.  Is the childish important?  Absolutely.  But as I return to the world of poems, I'm also loving the parental control of form and rhythm and meter.  Maybe every poem is actually a struggle between the parent-self and the child-self.  Wouldn't Freud have loved that?