You’ve said, “I use story and the word ‘I’ as strategies toward getting the poems to a place of what I hope is interesting uncertainty.” I very much like that way of thinking about the utility of an ‘I.’

I don’t want my poems to be me walking through the museum of the world and simply reacting in pretty language. “I” is a means to an end, a strategy for immediacy, a force or an energy. There’s a sense of productive irony and a performativity to the speaker. So for example, she might be very self-pitying, but hopefully there’s ironic distance and the poet uses the speaker to reveal this—it’s the Frank O’Hara thing where there’s emotion and the parody of emotion going on at the same time.

I use my own life, however fictionally, however obliquely. Because I’m spending a lot of time writing and teaching and reading, that’s one of the things I think about and so excuse me, it gets into my poems. I have my kid and my kid gets into my poems. I think about the election and the election gets into my poems. The poem really is this field for anything to get in. I’m very interested in poems that have mixed feelings and seem to be wanting to do conflicting things and somehow make a virtue of it.

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