I believe that I’ve always been the kind of person who pays a great deal of attention to her sense perceptions of the natural world. But, until my parents' deaths, I had no access to the force of the amplification that I imagine now is a growing part of my experience. I continue to be tempted to use the word “force,” but it is not a pressure; I feel it as much more anonymous than that. Maybe I can say that the death of my father first, and then my mother—that these deaths have un-deaden-ed me to this force, this amplification, which I sometimes think of now as the voice of death. But only if I could wash that word of everything but my direct experience, and then continue to watch and to write as that experience evolves.
This desire to wash a word clean of its old relationships, so as to prepare to be fully available to the resonances that it will have for me, in my life and in my poetry—this is certainly not an unusual motivation for a poet. But a radical expansion of this desire is now compelling me, and it has changed the environment of mind that I enter, or that I aspire to enter, when I begin to write. And it has changed my way of reading back to myself what I have written. Now, rather than listening mostly with logic, my editor mind, I read my work to myself with an interest in listening physically for what I can best call an ‘echo’. If what I’ve written will ‘echo’ with the quality of amplification, then the lines of the poem have done the work that I have asked of them, or that they have asked of me. Maybe I can imagine that if a poem is working, then it will echo in my physical body, finding the hollows, the empty and opening spaces in which to resonate. It will cause me to feel what I might also call a ‘shiver’ that is emotional and physical at once.