Friday, July 18, 2008

Quality and cohesion

Steve Almond, on being a "Poet for a Year":

I did some checking into this manuscript business, and it turned out they didn’t have to be very long. I had perhaps four or five manuscripts on my hands. But how to release them into the world? All at once? No, that seemed greedy. Two at a time, like a double album?

It was my pal Dave who gently suggested that most poets did a fair bit of winnowing, that there was a certain internal logic to a book of poems.

“Right,” I said suspiciously.

One might write literally thousands of poems before amassing enough for a manuscript.

“Sure,” I said.

It wasn’t about quantity, but quality and cohesion.

At this point, I began tuning him out.

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