A Poet Reflects

"The pleasure of writing is that the mind does not wander, any more than it does in orgasm,—and writing takes longer than orgasm. I can’t stand movies because I cannot [pay] close continual attention. While I watch baseball I read a volume of letters between pitches.  Even reading a good book—which is the third best thing—my mind sometimes wanders; or I watch myself reading. When I write I never watch myself writing; I only am the struggle to find or make the words. I am fundamentally boring with a boring mind until, I hope, the word with its sounds and associations becomes a texture in front of me for working over, for shaping, for cutting, and for flying on.”

—Donald Hall, taken from The Poet’s Notebook: Excerpts from the Notebooks of 26 Contemporary American Poets, edited by Stephen Kuusisto, Deborah Tall, and David Weiss (W. W. Norton & Company, 1995)

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