Adrian Blevins

A QuickMuse Q & A

Not long after Adrian Blevins finshined taking the Poematic for a test-drive, she said, "It taught me a lot about myself, and in a very sort period of time." Being inquisitive, we asked, "What do you mean exactly?" Here's exactly what she meant...

Well, I remember, years and years and years ago, being attracted to the idea, in Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down The Bones, of a Poetry Station at a local fair. The idea would be to write people poems for a dollar each, and, more importantly to the poet, to let go of the ego entirely by letting go of the poem right away -- of releasing it into the atmosphere, so to speak. I liked this because it divided poetry from careerism and all the various evils of attachment. (Goldberg's a Buddhist.) QuickMuse is exploring an idea like this.

But my own writing depends on revision so much that, doing it, I learned, first of all, that I am not a Buddhist! I'm really attached to what I write, and I didn't like the feeling of releasing it before I had time to write it. (I mean, forget the issue of not having time to revise it. I didn't even feel that I had time to write it.) So I learned that I'm pretty much a control freak. I'm known for being wild and wild-headed, etc. -- of being willing to say anything and not giving a fuck what others think of me or what I might discover, through the vehicle of music, to say -- but the truth might actually be something along the lines of the opposite of that: I might not be wild and wild-headed at all.

That huge clock to the left of me might have forced me to write wildly and fuck-the-consequences, but instead it made me desire structure. I wanted to form what I was doing more than I wanted to do what I was doing. Which really surprised me. I think the music of poetry depends a lot on the line, and because I couldn't work in my line or really control my line breaks, I found I couldn't really think. Your poets will find out what really matters to them by doing this, and they will be surprised, I think, unless they're more self aware than I am. Donald Hall says somewhere that when a poet thinks he's moving south ten to one he's moving north (this is a horrible paraphrase), and that's the first thing I thought of when finished writing that thing that I'm not willing today to call a poem. That I can't change my mistaken "Oh" to "O" -- it should be "O Lord!" -- also kept me up half the night. Seriously. Not being able to revise apparently gives me insomnia. That's a good thing to know.

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