I’m willing to give a fair amount of control to language itself to determine what a poem says. I think I’m in a sort of middle camp between the people who think the writer’s job is to make language say what they want, and the people who think it’s impossible to use language to convey meaning. I think language and I are more so passing a soccer ball back and forth, and I’m not so sure either of us has a clear idea of where the goal is. At times we seem to be moving in a purposeful direction, and at other times we seem to just be running in circles for fun — I’m not sure. I feel like with every poem I’m kind of waiting for the rules of the game to become clear to me. Sometimes I get annoyed and tired with all the running around — I think if it were solely up to me, the goals would be more clear. But (in our relationship anyway) language seems to have its own priorities.
- Linda Besner, in interview with Katherine Leyton in Arc Poetry Magazine's January 2016 Newsletter. You can read the whole thing here, and subscribe to the newsletter here.