Claire Luchette: What are the seeds of your work? Do your poems grow from a feeling you want to convey, or a question you want to ask?
Louise Glück: No. I never have the slightest thing in mind. In fact, I am suspicious of my existing ideas, my conscious thoughts and convictions. They are what I need to get beyond, into ignorance and after that, with luck, discovery. I begin to write when a phrase appears in my head—a word cluster, sometimes a single word. The task is to discover the world or voice from which this fragment can speak or elaborate itself into a story or a personality or a mood. This is rather crudely said. …
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This is what I have experienced. Thanks for posting it. Everything that I do that I have found worth sharing has almost had nothing of me in it, at least not any self I would fashion, or could fashion with intent. Not to say there is much of it. I like to pretend that the most brilliant stuff floated away while I was in the checkout line. Not wanting to appear crazy I just let it go unbeknownst to my fellow shoppers. :p
I love the notion of starting off with just a single word! Sounds at the same time both fragile and strong.