How do you feel about solitary vs. collaborative writing?
I am mostly a solitary writer, though I am not opposed to collaborative writing.
What does the term “poetic process” mean to you?
It's hard to describe how I make poems, it's a way of inhabiting something internal, of working out an internal space, something both within and without the world. Sometimes I get a chance to write a 'read the world poem' like my poems 'Horses of Insight' and 'Hair of Insight.' But even those poems only come about for me when I've settled well into an interior space, especially after extensive meditation practice.
Do you feel it still is (or ever has) been important to memorize poems?
I can't memorize anything. I have a weird memory, I remember most things except order.
Do you ever get sick of poetry?
I wouldn't say I get sick of poetry. Sometimes I need to read other things or do other things though. Sometimes I need sentences or music or my bike. I like to have a balance.
Do you have any advice to veterans of poetry?
Poets don't need my advice. I just try to keep writing and learning. I am constantly trying to find my rhythms.
In your mind, are technology and poetry in bed together or still in an awkward flirting phase?
I think technology is causing us to mutate in fundamental ways and that we have to be very careful and thoughtful about how we proceed (see Berardi's recent book 'AND, a phenomenology of the End.') We are at the dawn of ubiquitous artificial intelligence and of ubiquitous robots. I think poets most of all need to figure out how to respond. Soon, robots will not be things or persons, but something very different and in between those two. They will have their own ontologies. We have to figure out how to be thoughtful in ways artificial intelligence cannot. And what will quantum computing offer us? What new challenges will it bring? What new solutions and what new problems? It seems to me there's a possibility that rigid binary thinking, a hallmark of the western mind for at least the past 500 years, will be obviated. An overly easy conclusion to make might be that humans will be then free to be creative as they wish, with the boring practical details left to robots and artificial intelligence to figure out. I think creative people are more necessary than ever to help counter all this hatred we find so threatening right now. I think we're in liminal times where things might turn out in disaster or in something really beautiful. We might potentially be at the beginning of a new sense of the sacred. I don't know what that would imply about the world's spiritual traditions. I tend to think earth based spiritualities are more necessary than ever. There're also people trying to do things like Ken Wilber with his Integral Movement and the folks at The Next System Project. I don't know if those folks have all the answers but they seem to me so far to have something positive to offer, at least to consider. As creative people I think we have to work to repair the world in the best ways we can. We need to understand what we're losing by seeing the world through computer screens and forgoing the chance for the chemical, spiritual, and psychological communication of face to face contact. I think it's significant that a lot of Silicon Valley CEOs went to schools where they weren't allowed to work through the computer screen. Things might become even more drastic for a long time. I don't know. I can't predict the future, but as always, we need to figure out new ways of thinking and feeling and of being real.
Who are five poets, local and non-local, dead or alive, who you admire?
César Vallejo, José Lezama Lima, Clarice Lispector, Will Alexander, Maria Sabina.