[Edward Hirsch wrote a marvelous poem , Gabriel, exploring the death of his son.]
Rumpus: Who or what do you think forced you to write it?
Hirsch: Well, no person forced me to write it. No one put a gun to me and said that I had to write this poem, but I felt that a tsunami had hit me and I needed to try to stand up. I wasn’t really functioning, so I decided to try to strengthen myself by turning my grief into poetry.
Writing this poem gave me something to do with my grief. It was a relief not just to be thinking about my sadness but to be thinking about poetic problems. Because inevitably no matter how sad you are, how sorrowful you are, once you start writing a poem you also have to think about poetry. You’re engaged in technical questions, and those were a relief to me. (more here)