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“Titles are so various, like hats”: A Micro-Interview with Heather Christle
Heather Christle, winner of this Year’s Believer Poetry Award, took part in this micro-interview over at their website. They talk, for the most part, about titles. That’s a fun angle.
THE BELIEVER: Your poems have surprising titles. How do you go about titling a poem?
HEATHER CHRISTLE: I wait to title a poem until after I’ve written it, but only a few seconds after. That is to say, I do it very quickly and (I think) instinctively. I go on my nerve. It turns out, though, upon reflection, that my nerve likes titles that fall under certain categories. These are some I have noticed: titles that locate the action of the poem in a place, titles that sound like something the poem would have said before beginning itself or perhaps on a different occasion (if poems were allowed to move through time like people), titles that think their poem is a painting, titles that grab a few words from a phrase that someone else might utter near the poem, titles that pluck from the poem an idea to display first, titles that loudly state something obvious and true, whether in the context of the poem or otherwise (sometimes this just seems necessary), and titles that comment upon the situation into which the writer and/or reader have arrived (if writers and readers were allowed to move through time like people). Sometimes a title acts like a little hole through which you enter a poem. Sometimes the title blankets the poem entire. Titles are so various, like hats.
Full interview here.