I used to send them to more people. Lyn Hejinian, at first, and Bob Perelman, at first, and Lydia Davis, the fiction writer—she's a friend of mine. And later, Fanny Howe, too. Now, I mostly just send them to Ron, and once in a while, to Lydia. Very rarely to Lyn Hejinian, but still once in a while, like maybe twice a year. So, kind of that number of people has sort of shrunk.
We read all of each other's work. We tend to read each other's work when we reach the point we call, "exhausting our resources, which means that you've revised enough that there is nothing in the draft that makes you—that you know you could improve. You've reached the point where you've done everything you can to it, and it's time to get somebody else's feedback. Suzanne will read my work, and she's a really great reader, and give me really honest feedback on what's working well and what needs work. And then I have, I don't know, four or five friends that I tend to share my work with. Usually after Suzanne has read it and I've revised it further, I'll send to them.
I have over here in my file cabinet a file called "Poems: Feedback from Readers," where I keep all the physical copies of all the poems that have come back from the people I've shown them to, which I use a lot in revising.
But, no, email's, I think, great for writer correspondence, for sending people.. I mean, going back and forth with revisions—all that.
K. Silem Mohammad
So, a group of us that were on this list, and so eventually, I think it was Drew Gardner who introduced a method in the middle of this shapeless writing of using Google search results. Just going in to the Google page, doing usually a combination search for like two or three terms that you wouldn't expect to see on the same page together and then using that initial search result page as a base from which to collage excerpts.
Yeah, I have friends. Louise sees what I write. Alan sees what I write. And maybe Gail Mazur. Different times of my life there have been different friends—always somebody around. Jim Olson. Sometimes I email things to Jim.
Well, I have trusted readers, some of whom I've had for a very, very long time. I think what you want in a reader is somebody who loves your work-and maybe loves you-but will tell you the truth about a piece. Even to the point of saying, "This really doesn't work at all, and belongs in the bone pile," but who will tell you, at every place, what doesn't work for them. And you can get a group of these responses, and you can see which ones are useful. I've changed things because of those responses, but I also have not changed things.
Long ago, in the 70's—like, during the MFA program and stuff like that, there were some groups of people
It's been a long time. Sometimes I send some stuff to Denise Duhamel who is also a dear friend, but mostly, after it's almost sort of done.
Nance Van Winckel
I have a couple of fiction writer friends that I have shared work with. A novel… I had a 2-book contract with the book of stories before this one, and they wanted the second thing to be a novel-the publisher who I told you they decided they were going to go quit fiction
The last few times I've sent poems off to other people—I think I sent something to David Baker a few years ago just to get some feedback,