When you write a poem, what do you realize about yourself that you didn’t know before?
NA: Maybe what I realize has a lot to do with how I experience poetry, the writing of it anyhow. Poetry, when it’s happening, is like sex. It totally suffuses me. (I like the word, suffuse.) Afterwards I always forget how it worked.
but for me, it begins by chance. It usually begins in a moment when imagination meets reality.
Language, whatever else it is, is a mystery when you examine it. The way it pretends or attempts to replicate the world and what is in the mind or heart or soul. As a poet, I am forever leaning closer to it, trying to see or hear what needs to be said. And how. And each time I lean in, I try my best to get even closer to the fire, to the truth, to whatever it is that is inside the words and that moves me. Or whatever makes magic happen on the page. Sometimes the language is resistant—it’s hard and cold like the surface of a shell. Other times, it opens easily and lets me in, lets me flow. But it’s never predictable. I can’t guarantee when the heart will speak. Or if the journey will begin or end well.