I am most often interested in seeing what language can do that it didn’t know it could do — in finding the imaginary solutions to questions we never thought to ask. Rather than seek le mot juste — the right word to convey some meaning — I am usually more inclined to see what meanings might arise from materially structured language (“where once one sought a vocabulary for ideas, now one seeks ideas for vocabularies,” as Lyn Hejinian put it). What, I try to ask, does language itself want to convey when given the chance? The hardest part of the task is being quiet enough to listening closely.
Take an erasure poem (FPR is full of them) and then add words to fill in the empty spaces in order to create a new text that flows naturally and coherently. Words should fit exactly — to the letter — so that the result appears to be perfectly justified prose. Don’t cheat by kerning.
Craig Dworkin is the author of several books of poetry, including, most recently, Chapter XXIV (Red Butte Press, 2013), An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Williamstown (Publication Studio, 2015), and Alkali (Counterpath, 2015). He teaches literature and theory at the University of Utah and serves as Founding Senior Editor to Eclipse eclipsearchive.org.