• Writing fiction, for me, is a more indirect form of self-exploration than writing verse. When I'm working on a novel I'm moving characters around and I'm thinking about plot and there's a lot of other things going on at the level of structure and story. With a poem, a single idea or line or emotion can sometimes be enough - there's often a sense, in the best poems, of capturing a single instant. Perhaps poems differ from prose in the degree of solace they can offer - by speaking so personally, so directly, about shared experience. A few lines of poetry can provide comfort.