Megan Kaminski on Setting a Poem

Interview excerpted from The Millions:

I’m wary of the tradition of the poet who stands outside of the natural world, observing it with some sort of special authority and then seeing it primarily as a site for personal transformation…. I think that sort of rendering of landscape — as background or as subservient to human demands and desires — does real violence to the natural world, a world which we surely exist in, rather than outside of.

Read the full here.


Adam Phillips, Anxious Writer

Excerpt from Lisa Levy’s review of Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life in LA Review of Books:

[Adam] Phillips, underneath his surface smoothness and kindness, is an anxious writer. This is not to say he lacks courage or confidence, for he has plenty of both. He has an elegant prose style too, with a talent for turning a phrase, a knack for epigrams. Yet he is anxious in the sense of always being eager for something to happen, for his reader to be persuaded of something.

Read the full here.

Tracy Chevalier: “Less Is More”

Excerpt from The Atlantic:

…I began writing a novel [Girl With a Pearl Earring] about a Vermeer painting and discovered that, in imitating the Dutch painter’s spare, focused style, I was discovering my own. I do not—cannot—write long Jamesian sentences. I prefer Anglo-Saxon over Latinate words. My characters act rather than analyze. Even as I write this I am cutting words that could be left in, seeing how close to the bone I can get before meaning falls apart. Pretty close, I find.

By using fewer words, I am also giving readers the chance to fill the gaps with their own. “Less is more” encourages collaboration, which is what a book should be—a contract between writer and reader.

Read the full here.