Excerpts

On poetry (from a letter, 12/2/17) 

...I ​adore music, and I love visual art, and performance art and all the things in between - but those things are like how one loves family and friends, whereas it's only poetry that I've ever felt a truly spiritual love for. It is as if for me it's the only truly difficult peak to summit, the one truly worthy goal. Like the only really hard thing. The only thing that takes one's whole life to approach being a master of. 

Also my awe of how much poetry lives through the millennia. We are still reading poems people constructed thousands of years ago, though we've lost much of the music and art in many cases. I suppose I must be also influenced by the fact that so many societies have a holy book and that much of the Christian one is written in parables and poem-like statements... and Zen Buddhism and its koans... I feel like language is holy, an undiscovered land; the source of all evil and all love, like the source of two great rivers. Because it's the tool we use to both connect or disconnect with each other. Powerful beyond all other tools, even the manufactured destructive ones. One couldn't manufacture bombs without language of some kind... mathematics at the minimum. 

And like zen koans, I aim to create poetry that is both straightforward and elusive. That leads you to an in-between place, that closet in the house of cognition. That place that is slightly eerie, slightly dangerous, and extremely gorgeous (like watching lava flow, in person, must feel), yet is cut through with truth and banality and familiarity (I feel that when we fetishize the unfamiliar in art or music or literature we do something boring, something loose, something irritating, something that wastes all of our collective time, except perhaps the fetishizer, who has to move through that in order to learn, to age). We talk about the beauty of two stars colliding or two black holes colliding, we marvel at any forces knocking into each other. I feel like my whole life has been spent quietly trying to construct poems that knock two realities together. An alchemy of sorts, and just as impossible as alchemy, except for when it isn't. And it's really a temporal phenomenon - it's not that any given poem (by me or by anyone) is an alchemical miracle, it's that occasionally the time, place, mind of the reader, and mind of the writer come together with the words to make that alchemy happen. It might be gone the next time that same reader re-reads it. In this way poetry is the art of synchronicity, of sending out inflated life preservers in some kind of choreographed beautiful way that occasionally saves a life but most of the time just bobs on the water totally unseen and even if seen, unexperienced.