Q: What kind of poetry do you do?
A: The kind of poetry that I value the most is the kind that shows me what I hadn’t known, but recognize when I see. If I could choose, I would really like my poetry to be a gift and a change to the people who read it. Because I’ve lived in Florida a long time, I have an emotional investment in this state. I care deeply what happens to it. I think that poetry, although people don’t think of it like that, has some potential to move people to want to save what’s left.
Q: How did you become a poet and where did your passion for poetry come from?
A: Well, I learned to read when I was 3, and I had read a lot of books by the time I was 5. Part of it comes from having read all my life, and having words instilled in me the way music is instilled. It’s a kind of music in your bones, if you get it young enough. After I graduated from Stanford, I went to live in Athens, Greece. Of everything that I had studied, what I loved the most was Greek classical theater. I was compelled to see where it came from. When I found it, it moved me in such a way that I began to write myself, for myself.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Everything, pretty much everything. A bottle of milk could inspire me. If you think about it, every object contains the whole world. You can take a random object and find the meaning of life in it. I do really love the Sandhill Cranes. In my mind, they embody the cyclical nature of life, and they follow their bones.
Q: Is there a common purpose behind your poetry?
A: You have to make what’s most deeply inside of you. We all have so much in common inside. There is something you can find that you have in common with everybody. If you’re lucky, you can find people who can see themselves in what you write. But you don’t write it for them, you write it because it’s you. Then that means you have these extremely deep connections with people you’ve never met. It’s a really wonderful way to have soul connections with people you don’t know.
Q: How do you feel when you’re writing?
A: I am not thinking. I’m floating. I’m gone. I can’t tell you how long it has been. I write on a keyboard, and that’s how I think. My fingers write rather than me. I leave it to my fingers because they’re wiser than I am. For one thing, writing is like surfing: you sit around and sit around, and you have to be there for every wave. There are always lousy waves, but you wait for the good one.