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The Paris Review published an interesting interview with Mary Ruefle. You can read it here. Among the comments she makes is this:

I don’t have any ideas when I write a poem, and the poems don’t really have an intent—should I say such a thing? It would take me sixty pages to explain what I mean …

Poems are my inner life, take it or leave it. I don’t particularly care what the reader thinks because I’m just not invested in other people’s responses to my inner life. With discourse, with prose, it’s much scarier. There’s something built into its very nature—it’s more open and external, and it’s in exchange with another. I’m a nervous wreck when I write prose, and I’m not in the least when I write poems. If I’m writing a poem, it never occurs to me that somebody is going to read it. It’s taken me an entire lifetime to get over the fact that there are people out there who read my poems. In the beginning I was like, How did you see it? Where did you read it? I was forgetting that it was in a magazine somewhere. It’s like it doesn’t exist anymore, once I’ve written it. It always shocks me that people read poetry, even though I read it and love it and it’s my life. But it doesn’t shock me that people read prose. So I have the expectation of a reader, of a listener, when writing prose that I simply don’t have when I write a poem. When I write a poem, I’m writing for myself, the dead, and God—none of whom exist!

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