Reflections on ANOTHER SUNSET WE SURVIVE
To be a dangerous writer is to write about the things that scare you, to write stuff that is too scary for others to write. By writing these things, you can give the reader a gift, one of intimacy, one of permission. I want the book to be such a gift.
When I’ve read my own dangerous writing on topics like sex, incest, and violence to my students or to a room full of strangers, I’ve felt their pity and scorn and sometimes, their relief. Publishing a book of poems is very different and has caught me off guard.
The poems in this collection span two decades. The crown of sonnets tortured my mentor in graduate school, Colleen McElroy, while she helped me ratchet them down to twists of language. She also helped me find a voice that wasn’t just soft and melodic. Through her insistence, through reading writers like Marilyn Hacker, Adrienne Rich, and Dylan Thomas, I learned to make the words do what they said. That’s the idea behind the whole book: to do what we know, to give the sound of sense, to choose.
My practice of writing is not unlike that of other poets. When I sit down to write, the sun is usually coming up. My dog is under my desk, curled up and snoring. When I write about my family, they are far away, 3000 miles away, tucked in their New England lives.