Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Peter Gizzi on Writing Implements

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a reading in honor of Emily Dickinson's Birthday -- it was at the beautiful Folger Theater.  Peter Gizzi read his own work as well as Dickinson's.  It made me realize that though I have often read her verses, I have seldom heard them read, and it makes a tremendous difference.  Poetry was meant to be heard.

Out of all the erudite comments that Gizzi made about Dickinson, about poetry in general, and about writing broadly, I most enjoyed an off-hand comment he made.  The topic at hand was Dickinson's habit of writing on scrap paper (envelopes, receipts, etc) in pencil.  Gizzi said of his own composition process:  "The pencil is my drug of choice."

I love it.  Not only another hand-writing writer, but also the idea that the writing itself, the mechanical process of it, is somehow drug-like.  In a good way.  It is intoxicating and overwhelming and out of body. True even if you use a pen.

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