I spoke with featured poet, Lynn Levin, about her poetry writing process and inspirations. Here’s what she had to say.
LF: Do you remember writing your first poem? LL: I wrote it in first grade. The teachers taught us to read by having us rhyme words, and I wrote a little poem about birds that sing in the spring.
LF: Who are some of your favorite poetic influences? LL: Pablo Neruda, A. E. Stallings, Kenneth Koch, Tony Hoagland, B. H. Fairchild, Robert Lowell, John Berryman...I could go on!
LF: Could you describe your creative process for writing poetry as opposed to story writing? LL: Many of my poems start with triggering lines. Sometimes I think of a line that is rhythmic or torqued or ambiguous enough to usher in a whole poem. I am never able to write a poem in one sitting. It is a process that takes, at best, a few weeks. Often months...or years.
LF: At what point do you decide to stop revising your work? LL: I think that I stop revising work when the new lines I come up with are no better than the ones I already have in the poem.
LF: What are you working on now? LL: I am working on a short story now.
LF: Why is poetry important in the world? LL: We need poetry to deepen our appreciation of life and to refresh our spirits.
LF: What do you hope readers take away from your poems? LL: I want readers to be surprised and entertained. Plus, see my above response. I will never really know if I deepen anyone's appreciation of life or refresh anyone's spirits; that's a tall order, but I aim to do those things.