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 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 think that it's more likely that in my 60s and 70s I will be writing poetry rather than fiction.
If people associate me with a region, that's fine with me.
In the best fiction, the language itself can become almost invisible.
In the later books I am much more at home in the use of language to describe things. I had never thought of that until a critic pointed that out.
I tell students they will know they are getting somewhere when a scene is so painful they can just barely bring themselves to write about it. A writer has to draw blood.
The fact that something is in a rhymed form or in blank verse will not make it good poetry.
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.
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 did not have a very literary background. I came to poetry from the sciences and mathematics, and also through an interest in Japanese and Chinese poetry in translation.
I don't think poetry is something that can be taught. We can encourage young writers, but what you can't teach them is the very essence of poetry.
I love to create interesting textures with language. You can do it as long as it seems like a discovery.
You have to really dive deep back into yourself and get rid of so much modern analytical categorization. It's one of the great things poetry does.
If a poem is not memorable, there's probably something wrong. One of the problems of free verse is that much of the free verse poetry is not memorable.
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.
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.
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.
Young writers find their first audience in little magazines, and experimental writers find their only audience there.
Pound's translation of Chinese poetry was maybe the most important thing I read. Eliot a little bit later.
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