Nothing in the universe can travel at the speed of light, they say, forgetful of the shadow's speed.
When Robert Frost was alive, I was known as the other new England poet, which is to be barely known at all.
A teacher is a person who never says anything once.
The only way out is the way through, just as you cannot escape death except by dying. Being unable to write, you must examine in writing this being unable, which becomes for the present -henceforth?- the subject to which you are condemned.
[T]eaching has been for me an education (Lord knows what it has been for my students).
Write what you know. That should leave you with a lot of free time.
Writing is like the relationship with your bowels. First you can, then you can't. Finally, you must. Only then should you reach for the paper.
I think there's one thing which distinguishes our art - we don't consider. We don't think. We write a little verse because it comes to us.
A lot happens by accident in poetry.
The secrets of success are a good wife and a steady job. My wife told me.
I think there was a revolution in poetry, associated chiefly with Eliot and Pound; but maybe it is of the nature of revolutions or of the nature of history that their innovations should later come to look trivial or indistinguishable from technical tricks.
For a Jewish Puritan of the middle class, the novel is serious, the novel is work, the novel is conscientious application why, the novel is practically the retail business all over again.
When I was starting to write, the great influence was T.S. Eliot and after that William Butler Yeats.
The historian is terribly responsible to what he can discern are the facts of the case, but he's nothing if he doesn't make out a case.
Obvious enough that generalities work to protect the mind from the great outdoors; is it possible that this was in fact their first purpose?
I've thought of the last line of some poems for years and tried them out, It wouldn't work because the last line was much too beautiful for the poem.
It may be said that poems are in one way like icebergs: only about a third of their bulk appears above the surface of the page.
Robert Frost had always said you mustn't think of the last line first, or it's only a fake poem, not a real one. I'm inclined to agree.
When modern writers gave up telling stories, they gave up the greatest thing we had.
I do insist on making what I hope is sense so there's always a coherent narrative or argument that the reader can follow.
I have a plot, but not much happens.
I like all my children, even the squat and ugly ones.
Language is remarkable, except under the extreme constraints of mathematics and logic, it never can talk only about what it's supposed to talk about but is always spreading around.
I've never read a political poem that's accomplished anything. Poetry makes things happen, but rarely what the poet wants.
When you write it doesn't occur to you that somebody could think different from what you do.
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