Oodles of thanks to the crew at r.k.vr.y for reprinting "Two-Headed Nightingale" (first published by Gulf Coast) and featuring me as part of their interview series. Here's an excerpt from my conversation with the poet Bruce Snider:
BS: Would you call your drafting process for ["Two-Headed Nightingale"] typical for your work?
SL: The poems of my own I'm most married to have come rather urgently from start to finish in some approximation of what will be their final form. In other words, it's extremely difficult for me to piece together fragments, lines, and phrases culled from different periods of time. If I can't find my way out of a draft during the first sitting -- even if the ending is temporary and reworked a hundred times over -- it's unlikely that piece of writing will survive. I envy poets with a gift for hoarding, those whose talents include rescuing and recycling a sentence here, a stanza there. I, on the other hand, remain chained to my desk hour after hour in an attempt to chisel the air.
As with all things, I suppose, there are exceptions. "Wintering," for example, was written over some odd months during long walks across Stanford's campus. "Already winter makes a corpse of things," rang in my ear for days until it was joined by the phrase "Snow reshapes what ice has taken." When an emotional declaration later emerged to counter the initial sentences' descriptive impulse, a breakthrough occurred: "You've lost interest in letters. So let sunrise come." Frankly, this psychological turn left me perplexed. Letters from whom, I wondered? And why had their author "lost interest"? After a few more weeks of running the lines in my head, the speaker's identity revealed itself: a woman abandoned and left to fend for herself somewhere in the unforgiving northern plains of the late 1800s. Particular and peculiar as it seemed, I didn't question it. The rest of the draft followed shortly.
Hope you'll click over to read the rest of our exchange!