“When you’re not writing, there’s an anxiety about whether you will ever write again,” says Collins.
Billy Collins: Well when you’re not writing, there’s an anxiety about whether you will ever write again. Of all the kinds of writers – well at least compared to playwrights and novelists – poets return to the blank page more frequently. You know a novel can take you six month or five years to write; but a poem can get done in an afternoon or a couple of days. And then you’re back to zero and you have to restart from nothing. And at that point the question comes up, I mean, can you restart? Can you boot yourself up again, so to speak? Or was that it? So that is probably the main anxiety, I think, that goes with poetry writing. Poetry writing is a heavier exposure to the blank page . . . more regular encounters with blankness.