Each word bears its weight, so you have to read my poems quite slowly.
The sea is as near as we come to another world.
There's no friend like someone who has known you since you were five.
I am now seventy, rather glad, really, that I won't live to see the horrors to come in the 21st century.
A poem might be defined as thinking about feelings - about human feelings and frailties.
I dislike literary jargon and never use it. Criticism has only one function and that is to help readers read and understand literature. It is not a science, it is an aid to art.
how will I recognize you if we meet?
I remain loyal to Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert in music and to Shakespeare and Jane Austen in literature.
I write, or used to write, to explain to myself situations I couldn't otherwise solve or understand. Meditation comes very naturally to me.
I don't like poetry that just slaps violent words on a canvas, as it were.
I think a poet, like a painter, should be a craftsperson.
Poets should ignore most criticism and get on with making poetry.
There is far too much literary criticism of the wrong kind. That is why I never could have survived as an academic.
I did know Ted Hughes and I partly wrote the book to explain to myself and others the complexities of a marriage that was for six years wonderfully productive of poetry and then ended in tragedy.
I'm not really quiet or shy. Ask any of my friends! But I always ground my poetry in life itself. Poetry is an art of language, though, so I am always aware of every word's meaning, or multiple meanings.
Blake has always been a favorite, the lyrics, not so much the prophetic books, but I suppose Yeats influenced me more as a young poet, and the American, Robert Frost.
You've got criminal courts and child welfare officials refusing to do their jobs and protect children so they can shift the cases over to family court where predatory professionals can turn a dirty buck off the atrocities committed against children.
I work very hard on all my poems, but most of the work consists of trying not to sound as if I had worked. I try to make them sound as natural as possible, but within a quite strict form, which to my ears has a lot to do with musical rhythm and sound.
I like rhyme because it is memorable, I like form because having to work to a pattern gives me original ideas.
Mind led body
to the edge of the precipice.
They stared in desire
at the naked abyss.
If you love me, said mind,
take that step into silence.
If you love me, said body,
turn and exist.
There comes a time when you have to trust your own judgment, when you must close your eyes and let your instinct rule you.
I married a young Englishman in Cambridge in 1955 and have lived in Britain every since.
Sylvia Plath was just a month and a half older than I, and when she committed suicide I was only 30 - and very shocked and sorry. I never knew her personally.
Blackbirds are the cellos of the deep farms.
Peter Lucas and I live in Durham but spend a great of time in North Wales, where we have a cottage in the mountains, and in Vermont, USA, with my sister - who is a children's writer married to a poet.
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