Hunger Mountain - Vermont College Journal of the arts

Visiting with David Starkey

by Claire Guyton

What inspired your poem “The Herd”?

The poem began with my stumbling across a list of collective nouns for animals—I’d forgotten how odd and imaginative some of those words are. Then I began thinking how I might apply them to Santa Barbara, a place where lots of forgotten film and TV stars come to retire. Voilà: my poem.

My current writing space.

Tell us about your writing process—either generally or specifically with regard to the birth and development of this poem.

I write a lot of poetry—for two and a half years, I wrote a poem every day. A lot of bad poems, of course, but more good ones than I would have written if I only sat down at the computer occasionally. Indeed, in the twenty-five years that I’ve been writing and publishing my poems, I’ve found that nearly always the first draft of something I like is written fairly quickly, in one sitting. Of course, inevitably some tinkering occurs in the days afterwards.

The view outside my window.

What’s the sound track to this poem?

Neo-Lounge. Something from Pink Martini, maybe.

Have your writing habits changed over time?

Not really. I’ve always written a lot. Different chair, different desk, different computer. I have a better view out my window now.

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