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Time, for DA Powell
DA Powell: Every sentence written in English contains some anxiety about time. I’d love to write a poem that was Time-Free. Is that possible?
ME: Why? Is this particular to English?
DA: I don’t think English is necessarily the only language in which time is embedded in the verbs. But I know that in Mandarin it’s easy to make a sentence that doesn’t tell you at what time things happened. And I wish that were possible in English. A sentence in English begins and ends; it has direction; it carries you, relentlessly, toward a period, a place of death. It’s why I avoided sentences for so long in my poems–because I didn’t want to feel like I was living out a sentence. Now, it appears as if that troubles me less. I can’t think why. Except perhaps I have a deeper sense of purpose. But why would I have that? All I’ve done is write a few poems, which is a deeply unpurposive pursuit (if done correctly).