3 Questions for Scott Wiggerman

INTERVIEW

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

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

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

1. As someone who frequently writes in traditional forms, the poetic line is less a problem for me than for a lot of other poets. If I’m writing a sonnet, I know that every ten syllables I’ll be moving onto the next line (although I often enjamb from one line to the next). If I’m writing a sestina, a villanelle, or a ghazal I know that the repeated words and/or rhyme will determine the line breaks (again, often with enjambment). With free verse poems, however, I find I tend to break lines at syntactical units—and that my lines are generally short enough to be read in one breath. So syntax and breath play an important role in how I determine line breaks. I suspect part of the reason for this is that when I draft a poem, I almost always compose in lines, as opposed to those who compose in paragraphs and later break up their words into lines.
 
2. I find a huge connection between writing and the human body. I know for a fact that one of the reasons I started writing so many sonnets is that on my daily walks I fell into a natural iambic rhythm—and my words started coming out that way! I would return each day with lines or parts of lines that were in strict iambic meter, which led to hundreds of sonnets, dozens of which ended up in my latest book, Leaf and Beak: Sonnets. I had not set out to write sonnets, but the body knows what the body knows, and who am I to argue?
 
3. The one thing I dislike about being a poet is the need to “sell” yourself and your words to be successful in the po-biz. I’d much rather spend my time creating new work than selling old work, but it’s a necessary evil, especially in today’s publishing climate. I had not expected that I would have to be a salesman when I entered the field of creative writing—and I’m still not very good at it—but I realize that it’s something I have to do.
 
BIO: Scott Wiggerman is the author of three books of poetry, Leaf and Beak: Sonnets, Presence, and Vegetables and Other Relationships; and the editor of several volumes, including Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry, Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku & Haiga, and Wingbeats II.  He is an editor for Dos Gatos Press in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His website is http://swig.tripod.com
 
Finally, here is a recent ghazal that is unpublished.
 
Miles to Go
 
            starting with a Dickinson line (#83)
 
Heart, not so heavy as mine wending late home.
A thorn through the sole, my tortured gait home.
 
A leaden shadow is tethered to the heart.
Drag, drag . . . am I the bait or is the bait home?
 
Fend off the ravens. Gather feathers for hope,
broken twigs for nests—how we venerate home.
 
If love is a house, I’ve never slept in its rooms.
A thirty mile trek, and we begin to hate home.
 
Gray winter solstice, frost on the bark and beard.
Darkness comes early as we slog the weight home.
 
Palms on my eyes, I stagger through the brambles.
It’s more and more difficult to locate home.
 
No porch light on. Beneath the doormat, no key.
No windows to break. Must we recreate home?
 
 

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