The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

April 11, 2013

Hell and havoc: Christian Wiman on writing poetry


Poet Christian Wiman, author of Every Riven Thing, took part in a Q. & A. with The New York Times this week that touched on faith, health and his "slim and simmering book” book, My Bright Abyss. We loved his answer on the difference between writing poetry and prose:

Writing poetry is a much more powerful and destabilizing experience for me than is writing prose. The former plays hell and havoc with my life and mind. The latter is an exercise in sanity. That said, there are certainly areas of experience to which prose gives me access that poetry does not. I can plan on what I’m going to write about in prose. Poems aren’t real poems unless they shatter — there’s that word again! — all of your intentions.

You can read the rest of the conversation here.


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