Q: Walk me through the typical creative process for one of your poems.
A: You asked for my typical creative process, and that varies a lot, but there are some things that are consistent. When I’m getting started, it’s not enough for me to have an idea I’m excited about; my real starting point comes when I write a first line. The meter and rhyme in a poem have to be clear from the very beginning, so that first line has to establish not only a captivating hook but also a tone that will match it and a rhythm that will propel it.
Once I’ve got that first line, I’ll play around a bit. I have some experience with improv, and this feels similar. I freestyle for a while, basically just toying with possible directions until I’ve convinced myself that there’s enough depth in this idea for me to spend time with it. I’m still not ready to commit to writing the full poem at this point, though. The last thing I need is an ending — a punchline, twist, or conclusion that makes it feel like this story was worth telling in the first place. When I’ve got my beginning and know what I’m working towards, then I start seriously writing. Continue reading “Artist Interview: Jesse Gottschalk”