When I write poetry…
I’m cogitating on something and feeling somehow disturbed, that I need to get this thought-energy into some kind of narrative. There is a need to create something structured, to give birth to a story, but not usually to tell the story in a discursive fashion, rather to distill the essence of its significance. I ask myself what is this sensation saying to me? I feel it in my body, and gradually, as I focus on it, some kind of rational account emerges. I concentrate my mind on the emerging images, I encourage them to appear. These images are bursting with energy, and both image and energy need expression. I seek to connect the different images and energies that go with them, to relate them in whatever patterns create the most pertinent story. It is like some important message needs to be shared.
I think my poetry writing is helped by my reading books that are written in a non-academic style where the concepts are not too tightly packed. Usually this is not fiction but spiritual or philosophical writings. I come across a particular word or phrase or situation, and run with it in my imagination.
I read a lot about all sorts of subjects though actually not much poetry. I don’t know why this is. There are however some poems and songs that are amazingly resonant, and they haunt me and influence much of what I write.
I love Louis MacNeice, T.S. Eliot, Philip Larkin, and Leonard Cohen to name only a few.