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Don Share: Writers on Writing

"Things I have the strongest resistance to teach me the most, in writing as in life."

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Don Share
Don Share

Don Share is the editor of Poetry, one of the world’s most influential poetry journals. He has previously served as editor of Literary Imagination, poetry editor of Harvard Review and poetry editor of Partisan Review. He has published several books, including the poetry collections Wishbone, three poems from which were nominated for Pushcart Prizes, and Union, a finalist for the Boston Globe/PEN New England Winship Award. In addition to writing and editing poetry, Share translates it, and his translated collection of works by the Spanish poet Miguel Hernández received the Premio Valle Inclán Prize for Translation and the Times Literary Supplement Translation Prize. His next book is a critical edition of the poems of Basil Bunting.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned about writing?
Capaciousness. Sorry to use such an awkward word. I’ve learned not to steer by the lights merely of my own tastes, preferences, desires and predilections. Things I have the strongest resistance to teach me the most, in writing as in life.

How has this helped you as a writer?
Well, for one thing, it has helped me avoid becoming too comfortable with my own preoccupations, which, let’s face it, would be of interest to very few people. We all know that Whitman said that he contains multitudes, and we pay lip service to that, but if you think hard about what it really entails, you’ll work harder to become expansive and adventurous.   


Gabriel Packard is the associate director of the creative writing MFA program at Hunter College in New York City.

Originally Published