In The Night Sky I write about being able to see best from the periphery as a kind of poetics. It’s easy to become romantic and idealize these kinds of abstractions, but I do think it’s pretty clear that when you’re in the center, you can’t see very far, and when you’re outside the bubble—whatever bubble it is—you see more clearly. The margin can be a free and active space. And in American poetry, there are hundreds of centers—everywhere you look there’s another center.
…I reject the idea of the muse because I’m not as interested in inspiration as I am in the riddle of making something. A poem is for me much more of an invitation to find form. Once the words are on the page, I have a conversation with them: “How can I help you become a poem?” A poet has to become the most generous and the most critical reader—it’s like being a really good parent. I might say to some of the poems in Or to Begin Again, “You can’t go there!” But they responded, “Yes, I can.”