Robert Pack, 1974, 1981
POETRY MISCELLANY: A number of your poems contain references to the idea of beginning. In one poem, for example, you say that beginning "is a trick of gathering oneself / into what one believes / and stepping forth." Does the concept function for you as a metaphor for other sorts of beginnings?
ROBERT PACK: I think the value of considering any point in time as a beginning is that it adds a focused intensity to that moment. It is necessary not only to begin, but to be aware of the beginning as such. Whenever you begin a poem, you attempt a partial redefinition of yourself; there is something about yourself or about your sense of the world that you want to encircle in the act of making the poem. The idea of beginning, then, is very closely related to the idea of willing yourself into an intensified consciousness. The important concept is will--willing oneself to will, choosing oneself to choose. These are two aspects of the freedom that you win as you write a poem; you make a choice and will that choice into being. Here again the analogy with one's life is helpful; the feeling that you can control words within a poetic form strengthens the feeling, the belief, that you can choose to be the kind of person you want to be, given the history of your own life which imposes limits.
POETRY MISCELLANY: In "A Spin Around the House," you exclaim: "Everything spins / in its chosen space--I will it so." There's a way in which the