Notes to Myself as Poet:

Brevity may be the soul of wit, but poetry that is merely a forum for wit leaves me cold. Wit is for epigrams and epigramatic writing, which is almost exclusively the province of prose.

Economy of language is another thing, and should be respected no matter how lavish one’s pen is. This is something I have to pay special attention to because I have a tendency to exult in the piling up of words. But however crazy and greedy I get with them, I want the words to mean something.

I am not exclusively about psychic automatism, as were, for example, the initial surrealists (as, in fact, Andre Breton defined surrealism). Unless the thrust of meaning and freshness and sharpness of images are strong enough to carry a given volubility, the effect will be turgid, verbose. Whether poem or prose (or prose poem), it will sound overdone, perhaps even pompous or insincere.

The key is to stay in the center of your poetic fire. Never mind how you are burning—the ash can be cleaned away in revision—just burn as hotly as you can as you write. Be cognizant of direction, but not overly so of meaning. Dont let meaning eclipse the madness . . .

Put another way, hold tight to the reins of the ecstasy of your semantics and ride ’em, cowboy! Just dont fall off, and whatever you do, dont try to steer the horse with your left brain, your academic, ratiocinative sight. Ironically, it will do its work unconsciously while you gleefully allow your subconscious to bubble up into consciousness—and write out of that.

Anyway, that’s my kind of writing and indicates the kick I get out of it—and put into it—when I’m on top of my game.