I am planning to set up a website which will, I hope, include sound files of readings.
in your work or is that dependent on the poem itself?
My work is my connection. I don’t really have enough personality to get by without it. Some of my pieces connect with a live audience instantly. These are not necessarily my best, just my most approachable, pieces. They tend to rely on cleverness, glib turns of phrase, and so on. My better pieces will connect with somebody, maybe one or two in a roomful. Poets I respect will come to me and say something. Some pieces don’t connect because they’re not that good. They need work, or to retire. Some don’t connect because I didn’t write them to connect. I wrote them to say something people don’t want to listen to, so naturally people don’t listen to these.
What advice do you have for young poets?
Reading is the only thing you can do that will help at all. Read things you don’t think you’ll like. When performing, speak up. Not everybody has perfect hearing. Slow down. You’ll never get paid by the number of words you can fit into a minute. Better to impress with your language than with your ability to spew.
What would you advise a young poet NOT to do?
Don’t go over the time limit, don’t ignore the guidelines, and, trust me, your sex life is not that interesting. Before you show anyone a poem, before you read a poem to someone, go over every single phrase. For each one, if you can think of a single instance you’ve heard it used by somebody else, cut it and write something that you haven’t heard anybody say ever.
Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences