Russell Thornton elaborates on how becoming a father has helped keep his poetry grounded:
I think probably my being a parent has deepened and clarified for me what I felt when I started getting serious about poetry in my early or mid-20s—that authentic poetry accesses, illuminates, and enacts the elemental strata of what we call a human being. As time has gone on, I’ve realized the truth of the statement that there’s nothing new under the sun—even though poetry is presented as such at increasingly more frequent intervals in a kind of blind imitation of advertisement culture. The “new,” supposedly evident and necessary in the poems of the new millennium, for example, most often reminds me of new shoe styles or versions of iPhones. I find I can’t be truly interested in much writing that doesn’t call up and engage with what I believe to be abiding living essences; for me, parenthood is in the category of the essences.