Interview: Ian Duhig

Compose: What elements or characteristics, in your view as both a poet and a reader of poetry, make a poem not necessarily great but satisfying to write or read?

Ian Duhig: Some element of wonder or at least surprise, I think, is vital to either enjoy the reading or the writing of a poem. Nowadays there are a huge number of styles for writers, but if any of them become predictable they lose interest. It is important for the use of language to be original but also that the journey it takes you on should be different, at least in some features. More than any other art form, if I read a poem I like I reread it immediately, then do so off and on for years, for ever. Good poetry has for me an intensity that continues to reward me for doing that. I can’t be too specific because I know I will see new work that I admire which will contradict any rules or guidelines I suggest here. As soon as you lay down a law for poetry, an opposite but equally plausible law will formulate itself in response. Both will be wrong.

The full interview.

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