3 Questions for Laura Kasischke


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

The line, for me, is all about sound–emphasizing internal or end rhymes, inducing rhythm. I’m not interested in the way a poem looks on the page except in how that acts as a score for the reading of the poem.

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

This isn’t something I’d thought about, consciously, until your question. Perhaps I do, but in the same way that I speak of line breaks (question above). Certain rhythms and rhymes feel physical, sensual and sensory. And of course imagery speaks to the body and its experiences and needs. In the poetry I love to read I experience the music physically in the same way I do listening to instrumental music, and the imagery, the heightened diction, the ornamentation or lack of it, all feels physical.

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

There are times of terrible frustration–trying to write, having an idea for the writing, and being unable to reproduce the poem I feel I have in my head. It’s worth it, however, in order to be able to tell myself (honestly or not, doesn’t matter) that my life’s experiences will one day be worth something in some poem I might write. Whether good or bad, those experiences, having told myself since I was a child that I was a poet (honestly or not, doesn’t matter) has made everything more heightened, bearable, beautiful.

Bio: Laura Kasischke has published eight collections of poetry–most recently SPACE, IN CHAINS (Copper Canyon). She has also published seven novels. She lives in Chelsea, Michigan, with her husband and son, and teaches at the University of Michigan.


It would take forever to get there
but I would know it anywhere:

My white horse grazing
in my blossomy field.
Its soft nostrils. The petals
falling from the trees

into the stream.

And the festival would always be
just about to begin
in the dusky village in the distance.

The doe, frozen at the edge of the grove:

She leaps. She vanishes. My face—
She takes it with her. And my name—
(Although the plaintive lark in the grass

continues to say and to say it.)

Yes. This is the place.

Where my shining treasure has been waiting.
Where my shadow washes itself
in my fountain.
A few graves
hidden among the roses. Some
moss on those.
And an ancient
bell in a steeple
down the road, making

no sound at all
as the monk pulls and pulls on the rope.

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