I think the biggest challenge, for poets of any level of experience, is to both constantly expand their awareness of the traditions every poem talks back to, while writing playfully, with no monkey on the shoulder. We need the examples of our forebears to enlarge our sense of the possibilities for each poem, and yet we must trudge ahead, as Paul Muldoon puts it, with “a kind of willed ignorance.” It’s a crazy-making contradiction, but I think it’s essential. This is something I’ve had to learn and relearn. It’s endless. Read widely. Write wildly. Read. Repeat.
- Julie Bruck, in conversation with The Toronto Quarterly. You can read the whole thing here.