I’m superstitious about beginning to write too early, before the “idea” has accrued that sense of urgency, of resonating essence, of which you speak. A lot of ideas are therefore simply told to queue indefinitely, by my inner comptroller. But the key thing for me is, when a poem does present itself — not just the “idea” but the whole nexus of memories and allusions and associations and feelings, including, of course, centrally, that feeling of ineffable freight — to really let it jump the turnstile and take over my train of thought, completely. To write while the spirit moves, if you like. Because I’ve learned that if the thing doesn’t get written down then, it’s likely to never get written.
- Amanda Jernigan, in conversation with Alexandra Oliver, over at Partisan. You can read the whole thing here.