[from Edward Dorn via Tom Clark in Jacket 16, “Poetry as a Difficult Labor,” November 1998]
The habit of considering personal expression or ‘lyric” as something that strives for compassion with all of the artifices which make up a poem, is in many ways a loathsome instrumentation that leads you into dishonesties and lies and pretenses that are damaging. It is damaging to the ability to absorb reality. In order to write a poem of any interest whatsoever, it should be beyond how one feels, which is largely a condition so freighted with lack of interest on anybody [else’s] part. You really have to educate yourself and the poem at the same time. That’s where it’s work, it’s labor.