19 December 2005

Stephen Dobyns

[from Best Words Best Order: Essays on Poetry]

Simplistically . . . how I write a poem. I have a number of aural, emotional and intellectual concerns floating with a series of images like flies circling in the center of a room. I repeat the rhythms and sounds in my head, run through the images as if through a tray of slides, and lean against the concerns as one might lean against a closed door.

The poem comes together when I am suddenly able to join these concerns together under the aegis of one idea or feeling. . . . Once the elements are joined, the rough shape of the poem comes very quickly. Then I spend months straightening it out and trying to become entirely conscious of the meaning, while moving the poem away from my personal concerns . . . to a more general concern.

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