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.
[T]eaching has been for me an education (Lord knows what it has been for my students).
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.
Write what you know. That should leave you with a lot of free time.
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.
The secrets of success are a good wife and a steady job. My wife told me.
A lot happens by accident in poetry.
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.
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 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.
Once in awhile you have a thought, and you rhyme it.
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.
I like all my children, even the squat and ugly ones.
I do insist on making what I hope is sense so there's always a coherent narrative or argument that the reader can follow.
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 have a plot, but not much happens.
Children, to be illustrious is sad.
Why are stamps adorned with kings and presidents? That we may lick their hinder parts and thump their heads.
Mostly the thought and the verse come inseparably. In my poem Poetics, it's as close as I come to telling how I do it.
Shakespeare tells the same stories over and over in so many guises that it takes a long time before you notice.
Occasionally a student writer comes up with something really beautiful and moving, and you won't know for years if it was an accident or the first burst of something wonderful.
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