3 Questions on Poetry for Meg Eden

1. What is your personal/aesthetic relationship to the poetic line? That is, how do you understand it, use it, etc.
I think a fluid/natural relationship—I try to not think about it too much. I draw a lot of inspiration from the biblical psalms in this way I think, and the idea of a selah, or pause. When I want to breathe in a poem, where there needs to be some break between ideas or a pause for processing, that’s part of how I know to end a line. So I guess that’s to say that for me, lines are more for practical than aesthetic use. 

2. Do you find a relationship between words and writing and the human body? Or between your writing and your body?
This is a super interesting idea—and I’ve had to really sit on this question because I’m not actually sure for myself. Yes, there is a relationship between words, writing and the body, but I”m not sure fully how to describe my own connection. I definitely know people where this is more true for them than others—and the human body is an obsession for all of us as poets. I think the closest way I can answer this is that writing has become a bodily function for me—like breathing, peeing, and crying—it’s a natural reaction to circumstances. This was much truer when I was younger. I was very easily overstimulated and wouldn’t understand what was causing it—and especially when I was in a group I would feel an urgent need to get away from everyone, to pull out my notebook and write. It was very therapeutic for processing what I was thinking and feeling. I was delayed with learning to speak—I was about three when I started to speak. For the longest time since then, speech felt like an unnatural form of expression to me. Writing came much more naturally. So writing is certainly a way that I figure out what’s going on in my body, that my body can translate its experiences and try to better understand them. And if I don’t write for a long time, it’s a similar feeling to a leg cramping from sitting to long, it’s something that I feel physically compelled to do. 

3. Is there anything you dislike about being a poet?
When I have tables at book fairs, I feel like I have to apologize for being a poet! I think my only dislike about being a poet is that our culture doesn’t read poetry naturally. And on my own, I can’t fully explain that my poetry is narrative, that it really isn’t that scary, that I’m a novelist as well so I understand writing in a way that’s attainable for anyone—and I think that’s what aggravates me so much in being a poet! People judge the work before they even look at it! People will say, “Oh sorry I’m not smart enough for poetry” and bullcrap like that. What does that even mean? Not smart enough for poetry? If anything, I’d think poetry would be more popular in our technology, immediacy time. Poems are short. You can go through a book of poems much faster than novels. Yes, there might be arguably more digesting in poetry, but it’s like anything—you get out of it what you put into it. I’d think there’d be lots of skimmers of poetry like there’s so many skimmers of novels. But we live in weird times. So I think if I could change anything about being a poet, I’d want to change what it means culturally to be a poet—if that counts 🙂

Meg Eden’s work has been published in various magazines, including Rattle, Drunken Boat, Eleven Eleven, and Rock & Sling. Her work received second place in the 2014 Ian MacMillan Fiction contest. Her collections include  “Your Son” (The Florence Kahn Memorial Award), “Rotary Phones and Facebook” (Dancing Girl Press) and “The Girl Who Came Back” (Red Bird Chapbooks). She teaches at the University of Maryland. Check out her work at: https://www.facebook.com/megedenwritespoems 

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