Reading is absolutely vital. It’s simply naive to think that any good writing is sui generis. The connection between poiesis and imitation goes back to Aristotle, and poets throughout history have raided the same hoard of myths and stories. One ideally weaves oneself into a larger tapestry (textile = text). I’m at the point of actually believing there’s no poetry that is not tangential to Ovid’s Metamorphoses! You start out believing that poetry is either self-expression or memoir (not to denigrate personal experience—our individual lives are of monumental importance to each of us). But gradually you end up knowing that the great texts issue from a larger, deeper, more communal body of—well, “knowledge” is a puny word to describe it. It’s a kind of transpersonal experience. And you can’t get there without a slow, laborious, time-consuming effort of reading and re-reading. It’s the re-reading that has mattered most to me—realizing that things I read in school 20 or 30 years ago are only now making sense to me.
Friday, June 29, 2018
… A Lot of My 'Process' is Just Mucking About | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)