Thursday, 26 March 2015

Interpretive Powers

In an interview with Stewart Coles which appears on Boxcar Poetry Review, Jim Johnstone explains his notion of poetic "difficulty":
I'm not concerned with difficulty as much as I'm concerned with perspective. There's always going to be a gap between what a poem means to its author and what a poem means to an individual reader — to me that adds a layer of perception that makes difficulty a secondary concern. Poetry demands the interpretive powers of its readers, and I'm comfortable leaving that challenge in their hands.
Over at Maisonneuve, Johnstone talks to Chad Campbell about his relationship to revision:
Sometimes it feels like I spend all my time revising. That time feels like work. There’s a stark contrast between writing and revising as far as I’m concerned—writing is creative, joyous, almost ecstatic, whereas revising is necessary if you want to publish your work. There are times when I leave my initial draft in a journal and keep it for myself... I find holding back work refreshing; as long as they remain unseen, my poems belong to me completely. The same principle is necessary in a healthy relationship or friendship. Without mystery, the self can suffer.

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