I come to writing poetry as a practice, which is to say I’ve had a lot of practice making poems but also that now I make poems as a habit or a cultivated strategy for survival: an ongoing and continuous activity of experiencing and making and synthesizing and invention that occurs at even the most cellular level of my being. I wouldn’t say that poetry originates in exactly the same space as breathing for me, but is probably adjacent to that space—a sort of murky, sensorimotor space that is also responsible for walking and chewing and doing things with my body that express or communicate my aliveness and subjectivity. So poetry is an ongoing expression of my humanity and works both at the level of internal processing (and even self-soothing), as well as at the social level of signaling to others from heightened states of sensitivity and awareness.
This practice maps openings to spaces where objects related to ethical questions are more obvious—discernable despite the incalculable weight and noise and clutter of human politics and histories. Those structures and dynamics that perpetually renew and degrade and redigest themselves in our midst. A flux of faux greenery and ash and construction and demolition and birth and death. A tenacious attention to the animal: a with-ness as elasticized witness.
And it is here at this crumbly edge of language that I do my poetic work. One of my questions is: Can you say anything that is true? Poetry is a way for me to explore this question without being overwhelmed by the feeling that what I am saying is at best maybe only a little bit true. Words are at once the most common and practical and readily available and widely shared materials for communication, while simultaneously being the most complicated: materials of sign and semaphore, illumination and occlusion, description and camouflage, evocation and dissemblance. Also: for liberation and oppression.
I confess that, for me, poetry remains the most radical form of language. This radical character of poetic language can make it difficult, but “difficult” is also a way of saying: that most imbued with the potential for saying something true, or saying something that will change us, which amounts to the same thing.