I always think of you as a more novelistic novelist than I am. I’m not predisposed to like poetry. I’m not the kind of person who thinks of poetry as charming or who says of something, “it’s like poetry,” as a turn of phrase. I like poetry, but if I like a poem, it’s earned its way to that liking. I write in the first person. I write novels that shape toward dramatic monologue. And my impulse to do that came out of my affinity for the dramatic monologues of Tennyson and Matthew Arnold. I would read any poem that begins with the pronoun “I.” I would get fascinated with that. But it’s mentally how I attack the question.
Lev and Austin Grossman are identical twins who share a career in writing with poet father Allen Grossman and novelist mother Judith Grossman—but they are very different novelists. At the Atlantic, Maria Konnikova talks with the brothers about family and writing in this deep and heartfelt interview.
And if that leaves you wanting more, go read Lev’s essay on how he became a writer by not writing his first novel, over on BuzzFeed Books.