If you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be average. Creating a poem is a continual process of re-creating your ignorance, in the sense of not knowing what’s coming next. A lot of poets historically have described a kind of trance. It’s not like a Vedic trance where your eyes cross, and you float. It’s a process not of knowing, but of unknowing, of learning again. The next word or phrase that’s written has to feel as if it’s being written for the first time, that you are discovering the meaning of the word as you put it down.
—Derek Walcott, as cited in Advice to Writers by Jon Winokur (via litverve)