Thursday, May 27, 2010


“The creative process doesn’t exist in time. Things that bring it into time, like paint or syntax or the deadline, are not the same world that the work is being done in.”

“I don’t fit the forms that society requires. And I just want to be left alone; not necessarily by myself. I want to do things in my own time and in my own way, involving everything about life, the socio-economic, geographic, political, cultural.”

J: How do you make a poem?

G: You just wait and wait and wait, and the transformation is in the language. What the writer is doing is putting it in order, making what’s there a continuum. For me, what’s being said isn’t very important. That’s not what it’s about. What the poem is about is exploring the language – making a sentence, or bringing up all the meanings of the word. It’s not self-expression, particularly.”

“...a poem is not created out of thoughts. It’s created out of words. The poem doesn’t mean what the poet means; the poem means what the words mean.”

“Whereas the usual form of writing says: ‘Here is an idea. Think about it.’ That depends upon what you know about the idea. You need experience to know what’s being talked about, outside the poem.

“But in the way I write, and a lot of other writers write – it seems to me that what people want from poetry is those same subtleties of thought using terms contained within the poem. What’s within the poem is language. And everyone understands the language. And its limits."

“A lot of those transformations are tricks, contradictions, discoveries, puns, rhymes, sequences of words, which get to another meaning. There is something being said in the music of it. You don’t just think it, you hear it.”

from Gerry Gilbert, Poet, an interview by Judith Sandtford in Work Seen, Summer 1992. (Interview and photo below, courtesy of Lary Bremner.)

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