Distance not only gives nostalgia, but perspective, and maybe objectivity.
One of the most powerful devices is to distort time, to go from human time to atomic time, geologic time. Sometimes you can actually accomplish that, with one unexpected word choice.
I considered going to film school; I took a course in film and was very interested in filmmaking as well as film writing.
A poem in form still has to have voice, gesture, a sense of discovery, a metaphoric connection, as any poetry does.
I learned to impersonate the kind of person that talks about poetry. It comes from teaching, I think.
I seem to keep returning to my father in poems because his personality was so extreme, so driven. He did everything to excess.
I encourage students to pursue an idea far enough so they can see what the cliches and stereotypes are. Only then do they begin to hit pay dirt.
I don't think the creative writing industry has helped American poetry.
I write as a way of keeping myself going. You build your life around writing, and it's what gets you through. So it's partly just curiosity to see what you can do.
In the late 60s and early 70s, I did get interested in voices, and in narration and embodying the voice, making the poem sound like a real person talking.
Pound's translation of Chinese poetry was maybe the most important thing I read. Eliot a little bit later.
One of the most powerful devices of poetry is the use of distortions. You can go from talking about the way a minute passes to the way a century passes, or a lifetime.
When you have an idea for a story, you want those characters to reach as many people as you can. I think you normally think of prose as a way of doing that. It fits our time, the culture.
The Black Mountain poet I like most is the early Creeley. Those early poems seem very lyrical and very traditional, with a lot of voice and character.
Alchemy is the art of far and near, and I think poetry is alchemy in that way. It's delightful to distort size, to see something that's tiny as though it were vast.
Philip Larkin has a tough honesty and sense of humor that I find irresistible, as a contemporary poet.
Young writers only take off when they find their subjects. Since almost everyone has a family and stories about family, that is often a place to start.
The decision to write in prose instead of poetry is made more by the readers than by writers. Almost no one is interested in reading narrative in verse.
The great watershed of modern poetry is French, more than English.
The Language Poets are writing only about language itself. The Ashbery poets are writing only about poetry itself. That seems to me a kind of dead end.
What actually makes poetry poetry is of course impossible to define. We recognize it when we hear it, when we see it, but we can't define it.
We have a lot of long narrative poems written in the 20th century, but they're not very well known, and they're not read by very many people.
The idea of avant-garde art is a very suspicious thing to me, the idea that poetry is new and it keeps being new the way Chevrolets every year are new.
Teaching writing over the years intrudes on your own writing in important ways, taking away some of the excitement of poetry.
Poetry, almost by definition, calls attention to its language and form.
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