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This report is taken from PN Review 206, Volume 38 Number 6, July - August 2012.

Random Musings from the Bow-Wow Shop
Organised Alphabetically
Michael Glover
How to Write a Poem
How to write a poem? I mean: what tool should you use? Pen and paper? Computer? 'You know, I love to see the Arabic script on the computer, it looks so beautiful, and there is such a choice of fonts,' the Iraqi poet Fawzi Karim tells me one evening. Others agree. Kate Clanchy, I recall, once said that she finds writing directly on to the computer the only way to do it. It gives objectivity to the poem. It invests this mewling babe with independent life and authority. It wrests it, at a stroke, from the awful sucking mire of subjectivity. To others, such a notion is unthinkable. Poetry is so bound up with the personal impulse that only that intimate contact between the sheet of paper and the pen or the pencil will do. What is more, the sheet of paper should not be of the virginal variety. 'I only ever write on used sheets of paper,' the poet Jon Silkin once told me, tossing back his tremendous leonine mane of white hair. Only scrappy, used sheets seemed to make it possible for him. To begin to write on something gleamingly pristine and new, as if anticipating the appearance of some great, incontrovertibly poetic statement, was unthinkable. What tangled webs we weave.

Key to the Kingdom, The
Until about eighteen years ago - I wish for your sake that I could be more precise than this so that you could ...

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