Monday, July 21, 2008

Shop Talk

"The useful drafting that you do--as part of the discipline of all those choices in form, structure, diction, image, rhythm, and th rest--gets you to a new understandinf of the subject. Frost said 'no surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.' Writing needs to be an act of discovery, a way of looking at the world and learning something. And sometimes, if you're willful and didactic as I am, you need to let yourself be surprised--let your peripheral vision do the work. You focus somewhere else. Or, say, lineation, or structure, or the clarity of a figure. [...]

"We think of drafting poems as having material at hand and looking for ways to structure that material, but there's no reason why the reverse can't happen--that is, devising an interesting structure which will invite or prompt material. And sometimes this other way can be less preemptive or overly determined, and can lead to fresher insights."

--Ellen Bryant Voight,
Interview for Sycamore Review, Spring 2004

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