Reading Matters

Shelby Stephenson on writing process

Shelby Stephenson
Shelby Stephenson The News & Observer

In the fall 2015 issue of Main Street Rag, Charlotte poet Lisa Zirkle interviews N.C. Poet Laureate Shelby Stephenson and asks him to talk about his writing process.

Stephenson answers:

You wake up and you think how will I get started today? And the page is always blank. I try not to think. What I love to do is put a word down. I might read a line in Seamus Heaney, or Yeats because of Tony Abbott. And I’d go out on the patio and I’d write these poems. I’ve written long poems. I love to riff. I have a 300-page thing I’m circulating now. It’s a hybrid. It could be a poem, it could be a memoir in prose. All those categories don’t work. I’m through school. Why worry about all that? No one has a monopoly on the way to do anything. I don’t how it happens.

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