I write—and here I’m just playing with your idea of the word “raw”—in a very sharp, sensuous language that can be elliptical. I’m interested in capturing the tense nerve ends of syntax. Every line and phrase is a highly transformed act. It is a transformed and compressed piece of language. Every poem goes through 50 to 100 drafts. That’s what poets do; we’re obsessed with phrases and the nuances of linguistic music. If the reader thinks it flows, that means we succeeded [chuckles]. The intensity of compression and the decisions about where to cut, tweak, and move a phrase or an image are fundamental issues for a poet. Anyway, because you used the word “raw,” I wanted to note how much intense revising goes into making the “raw” [laughs]. I also hope readers realize poetry is about language and language is a modality of discovery, and the nuances of meaning are inseparable from the language density and inventions that a poet makes.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
… Interview: Pulitzer Winner Balakian’s World of Poetry | Armenian Weekly. (Hat tip, G. E. Reutter.)