Hunger Mountain - Vermont College Journal of the arts

Visiting with Gary Moore

by Jericho Parms

What inspired “Epitaph”?

Desperation for joy to overcome the nightmare of inevitable death. Besides, the erotic is always inspiring, and when I saw the stars unzip their little silver jackets….

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

Word music inspires me with a charge nearly as enticing as the erotic. I often start with a line or two whose concepts attract me, but I don’t stay with a start if I don’t hear an internal rhyme or assonance to allure me, and the next thing you know I’m on some far galactic cliff or indifferent ocean shouting Help or Alleluia. I follow the words I don’t know whither, adjusting my meanings as I go, and if the events and vistas don’t surprise me – this is true when I read poetry as well as write it – I quit. Revisions bring new surprises. Without intending it, over the last few years I’ve been discovering an internal cosmology by writing about it. I sometimes revise a poem every day for weeks. It hurts me if I can’t channel something convincing by then, but I’m usually moving on with something else too. There are a lot of stars.

If you painted this piece, what colors would you use?

Motion picture: Black and white, then deep blue and silver, then a playful cross-fade to sunset rose, then a long slow deepening to the back that is our home.

What does your writing space look like?

I’m nomadic these days, which eliminates a lot of writerly establishment, both the helpful and the encumbering. I write with black pen in an unlined journal on my lap in a comfortable chair, often with coffee in the morning, sometimes with strong drink at night. When I think I’ve got a keeper going, I type it on a laptop on my lap in a comfortable chair, but there’s no role for strong drink in revision’s civilizing of the madness of the beginning.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kris Underwood June 11, 2012 at 3:50 pm

This is one of the best Author Visits you guys have done.


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