I asked a bunch of poets the above question. I’ll feature their answers here each week until I run out or find more poets to answer the question…
Klare Lanson says:
This may sound trite, but I really don’t think I write poetry, I think poetry writes me. I’ve been writing poetry since I was a kid, using it as a way to work stuff out, to remember, to play, to challenge and have always enjoyed the way words look on a page and in midair.
These days (and in this moment of Q&A), the poetry stems from many forms in my immediate environment; in the visual image, the way of the western world, the conversations, the stories, the cinematic vision, the landscape, the sounds, the keyboard and in the clouds.
Sometimes poetry is the dark cloud above, cascading words in all forms of sociological, personal, technological and political communication, and sometimes poetry is in the shifting skyline and manages to pinpoint exactly how I feel when I watch the birds eat the food I am trying to grow.
Since becoming a mother a couple of years ago, my process for making work has changed dramatically and I am still trying to make it work, to refine and perfect my new practice. Before the birth of my child I used to daydream for hours, wax lyrical to my friends, read prolifically, surf the net every day, research, potter with sound, contemplate and muck about no end until I found the creative headspace to make my performance works based on poetry.
I’ve always thought poetry was both a beautiful and an economical use of language, a process of sifting words to generate a moment of performative, honest and emotional clarity (the idea that the process of reading/listening is a performance in itself is also extremely interesting to me), and now I cherish this idea all the more.
Time is precious these days, and I am now trying to practice the art of writing poetry in my head, whilst at the market, in the park, playing with my boy, doing housework, working online (and offline in the garden), cooking or commuting to my dayjob in Melbourne.
Poetry will always be a part of my everyday life. I don’t feel like I’ve had any choice in the matter. As Kurt Cobain would say, ‘nevermind’.
More answers next week.
2 thoughts on “Why do you write poetry? – Klare Lanson”
yes, i relate to this. the time factor, and the love of poetry’s ‘economy’ of language — they are SO closely related, and for me both in the reading of and the writing of. really nice to see someone mention the ‘playful’ aspect of writing, which i’m exploring more and more myself, and the realisation that it’s somehow essential to those who write poetry (cos it sure ain’t for the $$$), or as klare puts it: ‘poetry writes me’. on spot, spot on.
(later for you, andy…)
I like what Klare has said here – the poems are usually in charge of me too