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Transom:
In “Domestic Study,” ordinary objects and spaces become light bearers. In attic-light and door-light, the typical feminine domestic moves are reversed: cabinets fill with dust, for example. In spoon-light and button-light (both of which are soft feminine shapes), the hidden pear ripens. What is the relationship between light and femininity in your poems?

Moore:
I wouldn’t say the connection’s consciously developed, but in this particular poem there’s a kind of desire to uncover aspects of life that tend to get shut away or ignored. The link between the public and private self is a continual preoccupation for me: what we do when no one’s around, what’s hidden behind the bookcase. How we decide what to share with others. Light can be a source of relief, but overexposure can be damaging. Pears go bad, lives become subject to scrutiny.

This piece grapples with a need for exposure—opening notes, unfolding clothes—whereas in other poems there’s a wish for escape or invisibility. A poem can be a way of negotiating these two impulses. It can also, I think, be a way of exploring the game of hide and seek we play with the world.

Transom:

“On Symmetry” feels elegiac in that it mourns the loss of a double. Is absence a part of all symmetry?

Moore:
Absence, disjunction, interruption—these are all things I think about when I think about symmetry. Something’s got to disturb the mirror. Someone’s got to stick a finger in the still pool, get in the way of perfection. I don’t know why.

For me this impulse carries over to formal issues. I went back and forth forever about how to structure this poem—wanting it to be visually and logically symmetrical, then wanting to disrupt that impulse. For a while I even considered having the entire thing function as a palindrome, but realized that breaking my brain regarding form was counterproductive. It ultimately didn’t matter; the reader will find her own symmetry, her own form. In this poem what’s been lost is a sense of wholeness or completeness; what was there is not there now. A sense of a mirror that’s disappeared, but that the body left behind can survive, can grow a new tail.