I feel when I’m sitting in front of an empty page, part of my problem is I feel like the poem could start anywhere. So there I am sitting in front of an empty page and I feel like the page is almost a symbol of pure potential. I could start with the window or the bird or my feet or my shoes or my socks or my nose, my thumb, anywhere, I could start anywhere. But the minute I put the pencil down on the paper, the minute I start it, then the potential closes down. Then it starts to be about this particular poem. And even though you try to move that poem into a kind of spaciousness, you try to say as much as possible, but even so, it does feel as you’re closing down into this particular poem. And so for me, the experience of writing one poem is saying goodbye to the 999 other poems that want to get written.
— Li-Young Lee, interviewed by Alan Fox for Rattle