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San Francisco Poet Linda Dyer Quizzes Herself

Questions I wish someone would ask me:

Question: Why did you become a poet?

Answer: For the money!

No, no, because I was too shy to become a rock star, and I'm too wild to be a preacher.  Poetry is the next best thing.

Q: What would you like to less of in contemporary poetry?

A: I hope to never read  a poem again about myth, paintings or gardens.  Many poets assume something inherently interesting about these subjects, and I'm bored to death of them.  I also secretly hope that someone reading this writes a poem about any of those overdone subjects which makes me like them again.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: Read voraciously, and read poetry you don't understand. 

Write voraciously without censoring yourself.  Revision comes later and can be just as fun as scrawling down your words in a frenzy of feeling.

Write past your inclinations.

If you begin to write about a particular subject, push yourself to write beyond (or under or over or sideways from) your initial assumptions.

Q: Have you found consolation in poetry in the aftermath of Sept. 11?

A: People throughout the ages have turned to poets or soothsayers of some kind to help explain the unexplainable.  I sometimes think of poetry as the secular church—there is comfort in reading poetry.  Whether it is profound or imaginary, it takes a grieved person somewhere out of herself for a moment, and that is a great relief.  Sometimes it's simply a matter of getting involved in a set of rhythms to get away from the drone of television speech.  It's also a great relief to know that others have felt similar grief and have put down words about it; then the grief seems less enormous. 

Linda Dyer read from her work at Bookshop Santa Cruz on Tuesday, October 9th at 7:30 PM. . She was joined by lyrical essayist John D'Agata. 

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