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  1. Hello, Lynn, Thank you for following my blog, http://www.englishmanual.wordpress.com. It’s given me a chance to explore yours. Just the phrase that “words cluster like chromosomes” was worth the price of admission. It’s fall here, which means that you are in springtime, a very poetic time of year. All the best.

    Thank you Merridy.
    I love that phrase too – it came from the same interview in the Paris Review. Here’s the excerpt. I’m glad I found your blog too through the wonders of WordPress. Best wishes


    How do you plan the shape of your stanzas? I am thinking of the poems, usually syllabic, which employ a repeated stanza form. Do you ever experiment with shapes before you write, by drawing lines on a page?


    Never, I never “plan” a stanza. Words cluster like chromosomes, determining the procedure. I may influence an arrangement or thin it, then try to have successive stanzas identical with the first. Spontaneous initial originality—say, impetus—seems difficult to reproduce consciously later. As Stravinsky said about pitch, “If I transpose it for some reason, I am in danger of losing the freshness of first contact and will have difficulty in recapturing its attractiveness.”

    No, I never “draw lines.” I make a rhyme conspicuous, to me at a glance, by underlining with red, blue or other pencil—as many colors as I have rhymes to differentiate. However, if the phrases recur in too incoherent an architecture—as print—I notice that the words as a tune do not sound right. I may start a piece, find it obstructive, lack a way out, and not complete the thing for a year, or years, am thrifty. I salvage anything promising and set it down in a small notebook.

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