Sunday, October 11, 2009

Here's the background on "Crossing to Fox Island" supplied by the author, Gregory Loselle.

1. How did your poem come into being?

"Crossing to Fox Island" is part of a book-length manuscript I worked on in the year or so after my maternal grandfather died. The book as a whole (which I'm seeking to have published) is a work of grief and remembrance, feelings which I think echo nostalgically throughout the poems. Part of the strategy I followed was to compile important childhood memories of growing up in and around my grandparents' house, linking them with the surroundings--Elba Island, off Grosse Ile, south of Detroit--and redacting them, as it were, by working them into a larger framework of remembered experience.

2. Do you have a favorite line or phrase or word in your poem?

The first and last lines, which are the key to understanding the construction I've make of the experience, are my favorites.

3 Do you have a line that gave you particular difficulties?

Not particularly, though I did fret a bit about "from land to island," which sounded too easy.

4. How long have you been working on poetry?

I've been writing seriously since high school, so for about 30 years.

5. To read the poem out loud to an audience, how would you introduce it?

I've just done that for my high school students, as I told them about the award. Since I teach in the community where the poem is set, it was easy to draw the parallels between my experience and theirs.

6. What poets' work has taught you the most.

Frost is important, of course, as is T.S. Eliot--the first and last lines of "Crossing" echo the "In my beginning is my end/In my end is my beginning" lines from "Four Quartets"--but I'm a big fan of Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes as well, and I love Wallace Stevens.

7. Do you have a favorite Frost poem? If so, what is it.

I have favorite moments from Frost: his line "what to make of a diminished thing" from "The Oven Bird" was a thematic model for "Crossing."

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