The Problem of Themes

The difficulty of choosing a theme and the problem of sticking with it.
  • Transcript


C. K. Williams: Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know what themes I have left to explore. There are so many out there waiting to be explored. My favorite themes vary. They aren’t really favorite themes. They-- They’re sort of compulsive themes. Last year I-- I think obviously a lot about global warming. Anybody who thinks thinks about global warming but last year I found that every poem that I started to write turned out to be a poem for global-- about global warming and that was not a healthy situation. I realized I couldn’t only write about that so I had to forcibly move myself away from that theme back to other themes. Each poem has an essence, a kernel. Every work of art does. Peter Brook, the great theater director, pointed that out, that you can reduce any work of art to one kernel of force. Call it inspiration. And if every poem is trying to use that same kernel, then you’re going to become repetitive and become dull.

Recorded on: 7/3/08