Ha Jin interview

From the Columbia Spectator‘s interview with Ha Jin:

Q: How do you position yourself between being a poet and a novelist?

A: I started as a poet. I’m still writing poetry, but very slowly. Poetry is hard; it is harder than prose. Writing fiction often gives you the feeling that you are a writer, you can do it every day. But with poetry it is hard. You can’t just sit down and write a poem, it is very difficult. It largely depends on luck for poetry. But fiction is different–as long as you have a story and you spend enough time and you are patient, you can make it work. In other words, the psychology and the process are different.

Q: Who are you influenced by?

A: My poetry is really largely influenced by Asian and Chinese poets Li Bai and Du Fu, and British poets like George Herbert. I love his poetry and worked on his poetry for some time. I think my teacher Frank Bidart also had an influence. … As for prose, many of the great Russian authors: Chekov, Tolstoy. For Waiting, Flaubert was a great influence. Madame Bovary–that prose, there’s a lot of dignity in that novel. I read it very carefully while I was writing Waiting, also Anna Karenina.

(Via The Literary Saloon.)

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