A good thing I read this week: An interview with Alice Fulton in Memorious. Some excerpts:
I began experimenting with the double equal around 1992. I think I first used it in a poem in 1993, while working on Sensual Math. I became interested in lace making. I had some library books on the craft, and in the diagrams, the background threads that held the lace together looked like two equal signs. I learned that those background threads are called brides. This struck a chord with me; it resonated since I was interested in the background rather than foreground. In gendered terms, women, historically, have been part of the background. I wondered whether the bride sign “==” could signal a recessive space that holds everything together. The glyph itself is unignorable on the page—both present and silent. I liked that about it.
Because those little threads in lace are called brides, I began thinking about matrilineage and how visibility, in most cultures, comes through patriarchy. Naming comes through patrilineage rather than through the female line. The double equal sign “==” was a way to make such effacements visible on the page.
Poetry is inherently unpolemical because it leaves so much unsaid. A didactic poem is a failed poem, as I see it. If the poet builds in complexity, linguistic layers that make the poem rich and interesting, the problem of potential didacticism is solved. You can’t do all that and be pedantic at the same time. You can’t have depth and also have a t-shirt slogan. A poem beautifully, seductively, and partially resists the reader. Without some resistance, it’s not a poem. When poetry resists successfully, it sends you back up the page as much as it sends you forward.