Brenda Hillman

I wrote something when I was 9 that seemed pretty good for a 9 year old; it concerned flowers in our family garden - I was grateful my mother praised it. Of course, I found out later it was pretty silly, but it was the first poem I was proud of.

The techniques of contemporary poetry are probably the techniques of your daily life. I don't know a single person who goes into the grocery store and thinks in complete sentences. We often think in fragments, we think in little lists, we think in non-sequiturs, we think in feelings that may not match up with each other.

You go to a poem to get the mystery - and sometimes you go to get more confused.

I have many influences and poets whose work I love. My personal canon includes Blake, Keats, Dickinson, Baudelaire, Stevens, Duncan and Barbara Guest - and many living poets as well.

The kinds of things that poetry can offer are timeless - mainly the kind of compression it offers of powerful language, powerful feelings and images, and, you know, the inner experience becoming outer.

I'm always trying to figure out what God is and why matter exists and whether it contains spirit or not.