Poetry East #55: Origins

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Poetry East #55: Origins


To create a little flower
is the labor of ages

—William Blake


The origin of this issue is easy to trace: In 1996 I edited a volume of Poetry East in which poets spoke about their composition process. I called the issue Origins.

I remember being fascinated by the varied responses of the poets to my invitation to write about their work. Some were relectunant, others loquacious, a few insisited they had nothing to say about their poems. Responses ranged from anecdotes and personal history to elaborate statements of aesthetics and intent. All of us, I think, grappled with questions of memory and truth—whether a poet can truly, knowledgeably, speak of his or her own work. Even hindsight, usually reliably 20/20, seemed indistinct and blurry.

And yet, as I discovered ten years ago and now say again, how fascinating, how illuminating these comments prove to be. And so I wish to express mt gratitude to the poets who took the risk of talking about their poems and, in this issue, share with us their origins.

—Richard Jones

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