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.