3 Questions for Shirley Kaufman

1. What is you personal/aesthetic relationship to the poetic line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.

I relate to the ‘poetic line’ in almost the same way as I would relate to any whole sentence. It has to have a beginning and an ending, and especially in the case of poetry a music of its own.

2. Do you find a relationship between words and writing and the human body? Or between your writing and your body?

I like this question, because I think I relate to my writing with my whole self, which includes my body. I feel most my self when I am fully concentrated on the words I am putting down on paper, and it starts at the tips of my fingers on the keys of my keyboard at the computer. I begin almost every day like this, so that it feels very natural.

3. Is there anything you dislike about being a poet?

NO, NO, NO. I think it’s wonderful to be a poet. I think I am very lucky that poetry is the most important part of my life. At the age of seven my mother bought me a leather bound book to write my poems in, because I had already begun to speak poems. I filled that precious book all the way through high school. And have written and published my poems ever since.

Shirley Kaufman was born in Seattle and immigrated to Israel in 1973. EZEKIAL’S WHEELS is her latest collection from Copper Canyon Press. She lives in Jerusalem. In the poem “Your Place” she writes:
You wait at the side
like an opera extra
told where to be
when the curtain rises.
Position is everything
when you have nothing
to say and nowhere
to move.”

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