Why Stop?

William Stafford quotes from On William Stafford: The Worth of Local Things:

“Poems don’t just happen. They are luckily or stealthily related to a readiness within ourselves. When we read or hear them, we react. We aren’t just supposed to react—any poem that asks for a dutiful response is masquerading as a poem, not being one. A good rule is—don’t respond unless you have to. But when you find you do have a response—trust it. It has a meaning.”

[When asked during an interview, “When did you first realize that you wanted to become a poet?”]

“My question is, ‘When did other people give up the idea of being a poet?’ You know, when we are kids we make up things, we write, and for me the puzzle is not that some people are still writing, the real question is why did other people stop?”

“A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them. That is, he does not draw on a reservoir; instead, he engages in an activity that brings to him  a whole succession of unforeseen stories, poems, essays, plays, laws, philosophies, religions.”


Poetry Everywhere