The skinny girl walking arm-in-arm
with her little sister
is wearing a shirt that says
TALK NERDY TO ME
and I want to,
I want to put my bag of groceries down
beside the fire hydrant
and whisper something in her ear about long division. . . .
From V, by Matthew Dickman
from How a Poem Happens: Contemporary Poets Discuss the Making of Poems
My new favorite thing: How a Poem Happens.
Without fanfare or fancy design, Brian Brodeur is a poetry illuminator. How a Poem Happens — the blog he created in 2009 — is an impressive collection of interviews with poets who discuss the making of specific poems.
Brodeur chooses one poem, asks the author to answer ten to fifteen questions about it, and posts the answers on the blog. The results are simple, significant and rapidly growing. The site features dozens of insightful interviews with heavy hitters such as Tony Hoagland, Donald Hall and Stephen Dunn, and lesser known but equally powerful poets such as Jennifer Chang, Adrian Blevins and Matthew Dickman.
"The project began in selfishness," Brodeur, the author of two poetry collections, said in an interview with First Person Plural. "I wanted an excuse to contact some of my favorite living poets and ask them how they wrote some of my favorite poems."
Brodeur's curiosity benefits us all.