“To live poetry is better than to write it.” — BASHO


As a part of an Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation Grant, our visiting poets are asked the same ten questions by One Pause Director, Sarah Messer.

10 poetry questions

  1. What does it mean to make a poem?
  2. What is the role of beauty in a poem?
  3. How do sound and vision intersect in your poems?
  4. What was the first poem you ever wrote, and what were the circumstances?
  5. Talk about translation. Actual translation of language and/or the translation of experience.
  6. Talk about frustration. A time when you experienced the failure of language.
  7. What advice would you give high school students who want to write poetry?
  8. The famous line: “To write a poem after Auschwitz is barbaric” (Ardorno) – this was countered by: “After Auschwitz there is only poetry” (Jerome Rothenberg). Is there anything that poetry can’t approach?
  9. What is the future of poetry?
  10. One Pause is named after Ikkyu Sojun. In 15th century Japan, one was not considered human if they did not write, read, and have knowledge of poetry. What could we do now to make that more the case in America?