Interview with Walter Ancarrow
I never start with an idea, or I nearly never do. Poems are made up of words, not ideas, just as paintings are made up of paint, not subjects. I don't care too much about meaning, but a lot about sound and image. Meaning is where prose lives. "A green thought in a green shade." What does that mean? Or, come to that, Larkin's "Such attics cleared of me. Such absences." Or Wallace Stevens' marvellous incantation about Tehuantapec.
The world where I live is the world that I make,
And the world that I make is the world that I wish,
And the world that I wish is the road that I take,
That I take to the dark of an underground lake,
And the answer to this is a fish, is a fish,
And the answer to this is a fish.
Would you like to buy it?
My heart is for sale.
Would you like to buy it,
no haggling over it?
God's made it a lover's,
you'll make it your own;
God's made it a lover's
for one lover alone.
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Cover banner photo: Iceland's Volcanic Landscapes With Northern Lights, by James Appleton/Barcroft Media
Topical poem image: Satellite View of Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy on Oct. 30, NOAA/NASA GOES Project