I have always loved Marjorie Evasco‘s work since I read it in Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo’s Comparative Literature class at UP Diliman. Since then, I’ve regretted not picking up Evasco’s first book, Dreamweavers, which used to be easily available and affordable at all the National Bookstore stores I went to in Metro Manila in the early 1990′s. Now I have to scour the internet and shell out ducats for it. Anyway, here’s an excerpt of a talk Evasco gave at Iowa a few years back:
How I Write
Drafts of poems are telltale signs of the work I do to shape the material at hand in order to give it its best possible hearing. I can never truly say how I write because a large part of the process remains wondrous. One necessarily resorts to reconstructions of the process, something called “memory’s fictions” by Filipino poet-novelist Bienvenido N. Santos.
I know only this: that the materials of the imagination are taken from the haphazard paddies of dreams and memories, and that each poem feeds on whatever it needs. The rich loam of time and space, lived outside and inside the self nurture the-creative process. And the poem’s making is a way of focusing this inner sight, to let something new come alive with sound, movement, taste, texture and shape, bringing us back to things as they were when we named them for the first time.
I believe that once a poem is written, the poet can become invisible again until the next urging to sing the rattlesnake, grasshopper, centipede, cow dung or buddha. For the making of a poem is an eccentric act of faith that both the conjured up thing and the living presence of the world will someday awaken in another person’s body of memories and dreams.