Twenty one Ways of Looking at Poetry
1. Poetry says.
2. Words constantly collide. One line may take weeks to construct. Another sentence comes along. Trouble and joy. I’ll take this word here and put it there. And this one here. It goes on and on and when it stops, suddenly, out of nowhere, a poem.
3. Sometimes my poems write themselves. Other times they write me. I erase them. They surprise me. We’re friends.
4. I started writing on 3rd grade. My first poem started with the words “Why was I left here all by myself?”. I guess I wasn’t a cheerful child (I now think, no wonder they left me all by myself).
5. I met my love at a poetry workshop. It was autumn. I was twenty and shivering while reading a poem in a room full of unfamiliar people. I didn’t know him either, but gave him my right hand to hold under the table.
6. Poetry hits me with a stick. Then she kisses my wounds.
7. My mother never read my poems.
8. I believe that in order for me to write better poetry I need to read as much poetry as I can. and prose. and newspapers, dictionaries, manuals, manifestos, menus, maps, greeting cards, grocery lists, street signs. signs.
9. Poetry says, please come.
10. I say, just give me a minute to undress. I’ll be right with you.
11. I don’t believe in inspiration. Writing poetry is similar to working in an office. You get up and go to your table. You suddenly feel the urge to share a secret with a co-worker, wipe the dust from the desk or have your 28th cigarette downstairs, but you know that nobody will do the work for you. You also know you’ll get no lunch breaks, no salary, no pension. And if you are really honest with yourself, you’ll have to admit that, actually, writing poetry is not at all like working in an office. It’s like. like. Well, it’s like nothing else.
12. After I finish writing a poem I sometimes read it over and it makes me sick and I want to cry.
13. When I read great poetry I always think to myself “oh, I’m never going to be as good as she/he is”. I then remind myself that this is not a mountain I’m climbing, it’s a road and I’m walking. The journey, as always, is long.
14. I sometimes write on Walls. Windows. Mirrors. Notebooks. Lovers.
15. Meeting other poets brings me joy. And sorrow. I feel at home but know that, like them, I’m completely homeless.
16. I enjoy very much writing in English. It frees me from my destructive perfectionism.
17. I once forgot poetry in an airport. It took her some time but she found her way back.
18. In poetry, I move distances without taking one step. Then I take one step.
19. I went to study film in order to create visual poetry. My plan was to create a short film for each of my poems. I think I have failed (but wrote more than couple of new poems while trying).
20. I guess there are many other ways of looking at it, but basically I write poetry because I know I will some day die (as I was born,
21. naked and trembling).
NYC, September 2003