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Transom:
The triolet is an unusual form—in Anglophone poetry, anyway. What drew you to this form for this project? Do you see a relationship between this form, or formal poetry in general, and mental illness?

Wood:
Oh yes, there is most definitely a link between the form and the subject matter, as I am not a formalist poet by any means. The triolet was a complete accident. Before I found effective medication, I had been writing poems that were exceedingly long and highly associative; the language often was really disfigured; to my mind, it reflected the sort of narcassist mania which accompanies breakdown.
 
When I finally got the correct medication (it took three 3 years), I wanted to use a form that would force me to be precise, to shut the fuck up, and to reflect (and reflect on) the convalescence process. The discovery of the triolet was just an accident, but I immediately knew this form was for me. The sonnet is too built-up and controlled, often driven on rhetorical clarity. The villanelle—even a really good one—is too calculated in its movements. Etc. etc. I wanted a quick gut punch.
 
The triolet—well, the form is a form of drowning. You can't transcend jack shit and you can't build any authority because of its highly restrictive structure. I found out right away that most triolets are delicate and often have a light or wry touch. But then there are these triolets by Thomas Hardy, Joshua Mehigan, and Anne Waldman that are so damn urgent and precise.
 
Unlike those writers, I lack the refinement to write metrically pure triolets for an entire book-length sequence. BUT, I did think I could manuever within the general spirit of the form. The result are poems where the language struggles with its own authority and "meaning." The form reflected order and disorder in the voice, often highlighted by heavy em-dashing.