In this week’s Plutopia podcast, poet Jane Hirshfield and writer Tiffany Lee Brown join Jon and Scoop to discuss creativity. Jane and Tiffany explain their individual creative processes and we discuss deadlines, blathering, confidence, fear of failure and Covid’s impact on Jane and Tiffany’s work.
Jane Hirshfield: “I simply wait for something that needs to be said or for something that comes into my mind and carries with it the kind of magnet of this needs to be a poem, and usually almost always this comes out of some fracture, some difficulty, some question, some perplexity. As I like to say, for questions that can be answered, you don’t need a poem. You only need a poem for the questions that can’t be answered, that have no solution.”
Tiffany Lee Brown: “On the WELL, in the writer’s group that Jane and I have been part of for many years, we sometimes talk about the not writing. And that’s part of my process as a writer, as well. So for me, I don’t know where and when it’s going to come from, and I have a lot of ideas and a lot of inspirations – so for me, that part is easy. The hard part is culling through all of that, figuring out what to work on, if anything, and trying not to completely overtax myself.
Tiffany Lee Brown, a.k.a. T (she/they), is a writer and interdisciplinary artist from the woods of Oregon. Author of a book of prose-poetry, A Compendium of Miniatures, she is creator of the Burning Tarot podcast. As a community journalist, she writes for a small-town newspaper in the middle of Oregon. T enjoys being a mom, wanderer of the woods, and creative coach as well.
Jane Hirshfield is an award-winning poet, translator, essayist, and editor. She’s written nine books of poetry. Her latest book, Ledger, “poses meticulous equations of the self coping with doubt, hunger, age, and death.” (Donna Seaman, Booklist). Maria Popova at Brainpickings.org describes her as “a poet of optimism and of lucidity.” In our Plutopia conversation, we discuss the transformative nature and purpose of poetry.
A couple of books mentioned in the conversation: