Prynne on beginnings

Here I’m probably inventing, but I did have the sense then [as Force of Circumstance was being prepared for publication] that if I didn’t start, wherever best I could, I would never go on. I had to start somewhere. It was going to be uncomfortable, disorderly, imitative, facile, foolish, childish—but I had to put this stuff down and do all these things because otherwise I’d never get past the starting block. I just had to go through the formalities of putting it into the outside world for readers to look at, and turn up their lips at, as I would, too, if I were one of its readers. Think of the very young Keats! Because I’d got to get past this point, and there was no other way to get past it. I had to work my way through, almost like the psychoanalytic process, and have the extremely uncomfortable experience of being an incompetent beginner.
—”J.H. Prynne: The Art of Poetry No. 101” (Jeff Dolven & Joshua Kotin, eds.), Paris Review (Fall 2016); my emphasis

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