The Ear is a Great Editor

“I think about how things are constructed. My great grandfather was a carpenter, my father was a carpenter, and I’ve been thinking, recently, if that informed my process. Because I think about how things solidify and become heft and at the same time lightness. And so language is important to me, music is important to me. Language is our very first music and the body is an amplifier, so I think in that way. I read everything aloud as I’m writing a poem and anything that’s extraneous, I try to cut away. My method is to improvise. You have everything come flowing down and then cut it back to its necessary components…

It depends on what word falls left or right of a given word to, in a way, shape the music of the word in the center…I think reading it aloud, the ear is a great editor. The ear keeps me true to the language. The poem is a made thing in that sense. It’s a made thing, in a way, approaches mystery.”

~ Yusef Komunyakaa [WorldCat], speaking with Michael Silverblatt of KCRW’s Bookworm (April 30, 2009)