“A good soak in a bathtub invigorates the senses, relaxes the muscles and allows the mind to wander. Like Rostand, I often escape the world by hiding out in the bath, and I find that the leaps and associations I make while immersed in warm water are often more surprising than any I’ve made on dry land. I haven’t yet leaped from the tub like Archimedes, crying ‘Eureka,’ but I have on more than one occasion gone straight from the bath to the desk, brimming with new ideas and a (pardon the pun) more fluid sense of language.
“For other forms of inspiration, I like history books, screenplays (with their precise interplay of language and image), old radio shows and nineteenth-century novels. Also the songs of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Jimmy Webb.
“I try not to imitate poets, though I do love to read them. I won’t list everyone whose work I like, for fear that I’ll omit someone unintentionally. But if there were two books I would have wished to have written at this particular moment, I’d say they were Barbara Hamby’s All-Night Lingo Tango and Marvin Bell’s Mars Being Red.”
—D. A. Powell, author of Chronic (Graywolf Press, 2009)