I want to start this letter by saying I feel completely unqualified to be writing about your poem. Poems are miracles. How do you write about miracles?
I printed off “Eager” the day I read it, sometime in 2016, and that’s saying something because I have a hate-hate relationship with my printer and only use it in necessary circumstances. This poem was a necessary circumstance. I needed it off the screen and in my hands. I needed the words close to me. They leave me “open-mouthed.”
In its wanting, the poem gives. It gives me joy to see a poem expand on and tumble over itself. We’ve all wanted and wanted to the point of making things up. We’ve all wanted more than is true. Your poem gives permission for its readers to write that list of wants, tuck it under their pillows. There is no shame here in wanting. There is only more want.
When things are taken – the truth of the bird story, the son’s trust of his mother, the father – there is always more. Another way to tell it.
In its eagerness the poem revises itself, it allows for alterations. Your revisions to the poem as it moves along made me come back to this poem time and again. This is writing a poem, this is living a life: the need to double back, start over, to say something differently, to change course. This poem never claims to have answers. It just wants them. The poem exists in the trying.
There is the trying. “I’m sorry, this didn’t happen.”
The trying again. “No, that isn’t exactly true…”
And again. “I’ll start over…”
“Here, let me try this again…”
Often the eager are seen as too much, too earnest, false. But here, Paige, you’ve shown an eager heart, a writer willing to say, “Listen with me. Let’s try that again.”
Isn’t that what we all want? A chance at revision? A chance to start over.
Paige, what you’ve done here is something I can’t describe. Or maybe it’s that I don’t want to. I want to keep it tucked in my journal and pull it out when the need to revise comes, when I don’t know what to do with all this want.
PS – Find more of their poems here.