Sunday, November 25, 2007
The history of poetry and the moment of composition
While you’re actually writing a poem, how conscious are you of the history of poetry? Are you constantly thinking about how your poem will relate to the poems that have come before, or do you not think about that at all? Are you somewhere in between? Are you overwhelmed by the anxiety of influence, indifferent to it, perhaps hostile?
I’m not looking for right and wrong answers here; I’m just curious. Although I do think the answers will tell us things worth considering.
I don’t mean history more generally, by the way, just the history of poetry. And I don’t mean what you think about before or after writing, I mean literally while involved in the process of composition. And lastly I don’t mean in terms of the history of your own poems, but the history of poems written by others.
I would also welcome answers about this relative to fiction writing and the history of fiction, or song writing and the history of music.