Carl Spitzweg, Der Arme Poet [The Poor Poet], (1839)

Back Draft is an ongoing interview series exploring the revision process in poetry. Conducted by Ben Purkert, each interview provides a window into how a poem takes shape.


Carl Phillips: “Proof by Morning” / “Is It True All Legends Once Were Rumors”

Victoria Chang: “Obit” / “Obit”

Heather Christle: “Untitled” / “The Spider”

Cynthia Cruz: “Hollywood” / “Nature Mort”

Cedar Sigo: “Man Sitting with Yellow Flowers” / “Man Drowning with Flowers”

Catherine Barnett: “En Route” / “En Route”

Natasha Trethewey: “Pentimento” / “Repentance”

Edward Hirsch: “How Memory Works” / “Stranger by Night”

Ben Purkert

Ben Purkert is the author of For the Love of Endings (Four Way Books, 2018). His poems, essays, and book reviews appear in The New Yorker, Tin House online, AGNI, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. A former New York Times Fellow at NYU, he currently teaches at Rutgers.

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