Tuesday, November 20


There's an exercise I do with my students where I ask them to draw a sort of blueprint of the house they grew up in and place a few things they remember around the house. And then, using those things, write a sentence about each of them, finally turning those sentences into a sort of poem of reminiscence. For me, the physical place—especially as it lives in memory—is an avenue into emotion and idea. It's a doorway through which you can apprehend those other things. Without that, I think I'd find it a lot harder to find my way to emotion, epiphany, whatever it is that's going to happen in a poem. The best poem is almost always the one that is unplanned. You're fretful throughout, thinking, "This one's going to crap out like they usually do." But then something wonderful and unexpected happens and part of the answer is place is an avenue to get to these other things.

-- Frederick Smock, interviewed in Poets on Place by W.T. Pfefferle

W.T. Pfefferle on Frederick Smock