Robert Creeley

Thinking then of why one continues—that’s equally inexplicable, except that it is, literally, an active possibility for me, in my life. It keeps happening and the way the world then enters, or how I’m also then known to myself, is a deeply fascinating circumstance. Charles Olson makes a lovely point, that “we do what we know before we know what we do,” and that really is the delight in writing, that much happens one has no conscious information of until it is there, in the words. I’m not thinking here of some sort of do-it-yourself psychoanalysis—that’s of no interest to me—but a deeper fact of revelation I feel very actual in writing, a realization, reification, of what is .

As to my sense of vocation—for a long time I was very tentative about saying in any forthright manner that I was a poet. It seemed extraordinarily presumptuous. But again, it’s not a vocation one can earn, however one respects the responsibility of this literal ‘calling.’ In any case, being a poet is something I can acknowledge more clearly in my own nature at this point. It seems a consistently present reality, although I respect a qualification a friend, Max Finstein, once made: that one is a poet in the act of writing, not otherwise.

— “The Writer’s Situation”