Another poet’s method

Marianne Boruch on writing:

Which techniques might you use that tend to best elicit your meaning or illuminate your thoughts best?

Well, I’m addicted to what I call my “begging bowl theory” of writing poems – and essays, for that matter, though those require a little more willful engineering. With poems, intention doesn’t mean much. I try to empty my mind completely, and see what turns up – an image seen or imagined, a phrase, something that I feel stirring and I have no idea at all where it might go. Then I let it lead me; I follow it. The whole business can get scary; then I know I’m on the right track. And for months, I go over and over my drafts very early each morning, tweaking and redreaming, slashing and burning. It gets pretty wild, the revision process. I call that my “hospital rounds” and in a way, that’s where the real writing takes place.


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