do I look like the Answer Man?

Judith Fitzgerald: What makes a poet a poet?

George Bowering: What a terrible question! I mean how should I know? I mean that's for me to know and you to find out. I mean if I told you we'd both know. I mean do I look like the Answer Man? I mean you tell me, and we'll both know. I mean it depends on a lot of variables. I mean, we're working on it.

Okay, it's time for me to quit futzing about, if that is what I have been doing.

What makes a poet a poet?

1. Insatiable curiosity about the facts.
2. An ear that likes what words do other than designate.
3. A desire to continue the work.
4. A lot of skepticism.
5. A love for oneself as a stranger to oneself.
6. A highly competitive ego-loss.
7. Compassion on the part of one of the nine muses.
8. The inability to leave the house without a book in hand.
9. A record of failing one class in high school.

- George Bowering, in interview with Judith Fitzgerald, as published at the back of Bowering's new poetry collection, Teeth, Poems 2006-2011 (Mansfield Press, 2013).

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