A novel is something you can live inside, like a house. It has lots of rooms that serve different purposes. You build it with your own two hands, and although it’s never perfect, and things are always breaking or need fixing, the dimensions are such that you can pass years of your life there. You can feel at home in it. You eat, you sleep, you have sex, you open your mail. A poem, I suppose, is more like a room. The word stanza actually means "room" in Italian. If you work hard enough on arranging the furniture, you might actually be able to make that room perfect. I think there’s the possibility for perfection in a poem that I’m not sure there is with a novel. But as lovely as that room might be, with just the right light and view, eventually you have to leave it. You get hungry or tired, or you have to go to the bathroom. And in the end, as you walk out, you realize you’ve closed that door behind you forever. Heraclitus said you can’t step into the same river twice. Well, when a poem or a novel is finished, you can’t ever go back in the same way. It’s just that a novel you live in for longer. And I like that. Wandering around in that house and making a life there.
– Nicole Krauss, in an old interview