poems as the way to arrive at poetics

There’s a way in which just about any poem a person writes can be interpreted as a statement of poetics. Ideally, I think, that’s actually the way it should be: i.e. poems should be the means by which a person — whether poet or reader — arrives at poetics, as opposed to poetics being the way one arrives at poems. Some poems read like essays in poetics; the poem itself appears to be a programmatic extension of pre-formulated theoretical concepts. I write — and read — poems in large measure to work thru things I haven’t been able to figure out; insofar as the two poems named show a person in the process of working things out, sure, they’re statements of poetics, but they’re statements of poetics that I think apply to other realms. And they’re statements of a poetics in progress, not of any fixed dogmatic position. Rarely does a poem actually provide me with solutions to problems, but they often help me to ask better questions.

- Zachariah Wells, in an interview with Alessandro Porco in Maissoneuve. Read the whole thing here.

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