Poetry craft heaven

A few weeks ago, Penelope Trunk wrote about the idea that we each fall into one of three categories: Approval, Affiliation, or Craft. (And I’m wrong already–actually, it’s Achievement, Affiliation, or Competence, but then she talks about craft.)

How does this career talk fit with poetry? (I’m always asking.)

Certainly, I crave approval (I guess that’s achievement, and yes, it’s hard to admit). And I want people to like me, even when I’m prickly and impatient. But when it comes down to it, down to poetry, craft is what I love–reading it, seeing it, those moments when I think I’m getting it. I could sit down with you and chat about craft all day–hear what you think, learn together.

For me, craft is closely tied to process–the paths we take, the drafts and revisions through which we discover what works for this poem or this series and what doesn’t work.

Imagine how happy I am to be reading Poetry in Person–a book of interviews (transcriptions of classes) all about process. At the very beginning:

“It follows that poems are not so important as the poetic process, the transforming power that spiritualizes a world, turning visibility into invisibility, the world into ourselves.” –Denis Donaghue on The Selected Poetry of Ranier Maria Rilke.

Be still my heart.

This morning’s commute gave me a chance to read the Muriel Rukeyser chapter. A fantastic way to start the day. It’s feeling good here…

Many thanks to the folks at Open Books for recommending the book. I, in turn, recommend it to you.

For a bonus, read some thoughts on how line breaks change the reader’s perception of language. At least, I think that’s what it says. (Thanks to Bobby for that link.)

What do you think about craft? Or what else wakes you up in the morning (in a good way)?