tonyv Posted August 2, 2010 Share Posted August 2, 2010 In an interview with Philip Larkin that I read recently, I came across the following thought provoking questions and Larkin's candid answers: INTERVIEWER As a writer, what are your particular quirks? Do you feel you have any conspicuous or secret flaw as a writer? LARKIN I really don’t know. I suppose I’ve used the iambic pentameter a lot: some people find this oppressive and try to get away from it. My secret flaw is just not being very good, like everyone else. I’ve never been didactic, never tried to make poetry do things, never gone out to look for it. I waited for it to come to me, in whatever shape it chose. [emphasis mine] To a follow-up quesion, Larkin replied, "A well-known publisher asked me how one punctuated poetry, and looked flabbergasted when I said, The same as prose." As a beginner writer, I think my biggest flaw is not writing enough, but that's probably more of a character flaw than a writer's flaw. I mean, I know how to do it, starting with initial observation and reflection, but I just don't take the time to do it as often as I should. It's probably something I can easily correct. I just have to get serious and stop being so lazy. Also, as I endeavor to be clear, I have a tendency toward verbosity. I guess that would be a writer's flaw, because things often can be expressed better without it. So, I'm working hard on correcting that. As for punctuation, I'm in the same camp as Larkin. I punctuate poetry the same as prose (to the best of my ability, that is). In any case, I found the emphasized part of Larkin's quote above extremely encouraging. No matter who the writers are that we as writers may idolize (for lack of a better word in the moment), they're only people with a particular talent and skill. We get to see their best, perhaps even their worst. They may even see their own writing as we see ours -- not very good. For some, writing may come easier (or it may appear to come easier), but from Larkin's words, it's reasonable to conclude he had to work hard at his writing. I have to work hard at my writing, and I derive inspiration from his reply. What are your quirks? What are your flaws? Tell as much or as little as you desire. Tony Paris Review Interview with PHILIP LARKIN Quote Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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