SUSAN GILLIS: What brought you to poetry? Or, if you prefer, what brought poetry to you?
PAUL VERMEERSCH: I think it starts with colouring books. I always hated colouring books. Blank paper was always better. When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was draw, to create my own images. Colouring books demanded orthodoxy, an adherence to a prescribed pattern and colour palette. But I wanted to play, to explore! When I got older I discovered that you can make art using language instead of crayons or paint. I tried writing songs. I tried writing stories. They didn't seem to fit, but eventually you just grow into things. I think I grew into poetry the same way I grew into my father's hand-me-down leather jacket. I started writing poems because they fit me best, and I discovered that I liked reading them best, too. All art forms are a kind of hand-me-down, I think. They come from the past. They are given to us, and they have traditions associated with them, but we have to decide what to do with them next.
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