Kay Ryan on the Need to Rhyme

Interview excerpted from the Paris Review:

When I started writing nobody rhymed—it was in utter disrepute. Yet rhyme was a siren to me. I had this condition of things rhyming in my mind without my permission. Still I couldn’t take end-rhyme seriously, which meant I had to find other ways—I stashed my rhymes at the wrong ends of lines and in the middles—the front of one word would rhyme with the back of another one, or one word might be identical to three words.


What’s recombinant rhyme? It’s like how they add a snip of the jellyfish’s glow-in-the-dark gene to bunnies and make them glow green; by snipping up pieces of sound and redistributing them throughout a poem I found I could get the poem to go a little bit luminescent.

For the full, read here.


Linda Gregerson: The Pun-Ish Potential of Language

Excerpt from LA Review of Books:

Gregerson loves the pun-ish potential of language, the way the entangled accidents of time, circumstance, want, and will make meaning possible, and she frequently builds a poem around the unlikely marriages a single word makes. If the characteristic unit of much poetry is metaphor — the discovery of underlying likeness in seemingly unlike things — Gregerson is just as likely to turn that on its head, rhyming essentially unlike things based on surface likenesses. It’s a model of the ways in which she seems to love the world: not for what it hides but what it shows.


Gregerson has made the activity of her thinking into the driving force behind the language she uses, writing after clarity rather than for heft.

Read the full here.

Preeti Kaur: the Enchantment of Metaphor

Interview excerpt from The Aerogram:

I grew up paying careful attention to language. In the Sikh tradition our sacred text, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, is written with extreme detail to rhyme, rhythm, and metaphor. My father’s lessons in trying to impart the pronunciation and recitation of Sikh prayers helped to tune my ear to the ways words can have a musicality of their own. As I grew, he explained the multiple meanings of these words, their layered intentions towards introspection; I became enchanted with metaphors, especially those that permeate Sikh theology.

For the full, read here.

Haruki Murakami on Clarity in the Story

Interview excerpt from The Paris Review:

I get some images and I connect one piece to another. That’s the story line. Then I explain the story line to the reader. You should be very kind when you explain something. If you think, It’s okay; I know that, it’s a very arrogant thing. Easy words and good metaphors; good allegory. So that’s what I do. I explain very carefully and clearly.

Read the full here.

Steven Price: “a pleasure beyond language”

Interview excerpt from Lemon Hound:

I haven’t much interest in the idealized world, and don’t find myself responding to it in poetry, or in any other sphere. In poetry, I do find myself responding to language that stands at a very low level, at an almost physical level, the level of the flesh. For me a very large part of this lies in the way language fills the mouth.


I do believe beauty, whatever it is, is a kind of pleasure beyond language.

Read the full here.

Ange Mlinko Revisits Adrienne Rich’s Later Poems

Excerpt from Poetry Foundation:

Argument and commitment were central for Rich as a way of addressing injustice and inequality through the vehicle of the poem. Mlinko argues that Rich’s use of poetry has been a stumbling block for a generation of poets who locate greater value in play, indeterminacy, and the formal aspects of linguistic/poetic construction.

Read the full here.

Constance Hale on the Tension between Correct and Incorrect

Interview excerpt from The Rumpus:

As a writer, I like to know what’s grammatically correct, because I’m interested in it, but I don’t really think grammatically correct prose is always the most interesting prose to read. So I’ve always been interested in the tension in language between what’s correct and what’s incorrect, what’s standard and what’s nonstandard, and the tension between grammarians and linguists.

For the full, read here.