How does a poem begin for you - with an image an idea or a phrase?

I find it hard to separate those three things and it may be that it comes to me all as one so that the word is the image, and the image is the word. And certainly when words come to you like that you get that tingle and you know a poem is about to happen. To help that along like most poets I guess I've got a very fat notebook full of ideas and those important thoughts that otherwise you'd lose, that you have in the middle of the night, that you jot down - and so that's a great resource, you know a whole kind of tome of teaming ideas which may be bits of conversation I've overheard, maybe something from the paper, or something from my reading, some important quote or just that exciting, tingly image, come language, come phrase that inserts itself into your mind. A few times I get phrases coming to me almost as if they're set to music and they kind of sing into my ear and demand to be written. I wish that happened more - but when that happens it's very satisfying.


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