At the Institute for Advanced Study this coming winter, I hope to write a series of poems that touch with clarity and mystery on the whole unnerving notion of dislocation, poems that fall into dislocation even in formal ways, their architecture miming what American poet Elizabeth Bishop called “the mind in motion.” It may be a dissolution whose darker side could perhaps, with luck, turn toward light though poetry is all about costs, human and mythic and beyond human, into our natural world fully under siege now.
My creative practice is to put out my begging bowl and try to be patient and quiet enough that images and ideas arrive out of—well, I’m never sure how they emerge or from where—and then I go forward, each line and image welcoming the next one to the page or screen. I need to be surprised but am committed to revision, call it my “hospital rounds” hoping that each poem eventually will reveal itself to me. It takes time; I’ll have two months. But because it’s Budapest, I suspect that the Roman ghosts there, the history of war and recovery, centuries of passion and beauty, will mix and unmix in me.
(Photo credit: Will N. Dunlap)