Poetry is the art of saying what you mean but disguising it.
Learning to live what you're born with is the process, the involvement, the making of a life.
I write in the first person because I have always wanted to make my life more interesting than it was.
American poetry is always about defining oneself individually,claiming one's right to be different and often to break taboos.
So, I've never been politically correct, even before that term was available to us, and I have really identified with other people who don't want to be read as just a black poet, or just a woman poet, or just someone who represents a cause, an anti-Vietnam war poet.
Innocence is suffering
and the loss of that innocence
is something to fear.
I don't like political poetry, and I don't write it. If this question was pointing towards that, I think it is missing the point of the American tradition, which is always apolitical, even when the poetry comes out of politically active writers.
Poems come from incomplete knowledge.
I'm passing on a tradition of which I am part. There's a long line of poets who went before me, and I'm another one, and I'm hoping to pass that on to other younger, or newer, poets than myself.
Sometimes the archaism of the language when it's spoken is why we are all in love with the Irish today.
Still, language is resilient, and poetry when it is pressured simply goes underground.
Other people have noticed more of an evolution than I have and so I'll try to tell you where I'm coming from and also relate it to what I think other people perceive.
PC stuff just lowers the general acceptance of good work and replaces it with bogus poetry that celebrates values that in themselves are probably quite worthy.
One, I have a wonderful publisher, Black Sparrow Press; as long as they exist, they will keep me in print. And they claim they sell very respectable numbers of my books, so I guess, and it's true, every place I go, my books are in libraries and on bookshelves.
There are rituals not structures for being a poet, drinking too much, taking too many drugs, being a lady chaser, having your nervous breakdown, being irresponsible about money.
The best young writers are convinced they need blurbs from famous writers before an editor will even read the first page of a manuscript. If this is true, then the editorial system that prevails today stinks. And let's start reforming it.
We are authors, all of us, concerned with beginning, with making, with sources and substance.
... poetry is one of the essential structures of civilization -- carrying myth, ritual, 'tales of the tribe' and the essence of language ...
Poems reveal secrets when they are analyzed. The poet's pleasure in finding ingenious ways to enclose her secrets should be matched by the reader's pleasure in unlocking and revealing these secrets.
From reading a previous answer, you know that I consider all those aspects to be part of American cultural myth and thus they figure into good American poetry, whether the poet is aware of what he is doing or not.
I think that's what poetry does. It allows people to come together and identify with a common thing that is outside of themselves, but which they identify with from the interior.
I think that great poetry is the most interesting and complex use of the poet's language at that point in history, and so it's even more exciting when you read a poet like Yeats, almost 100 years old now, and you think that perhaps no one can really top that.
I think I'm a very good reader of poetry, but obviously, like everybody, I have a set of criteria for reading poems, and I'm not shy about presenting them, so if people ask for my critical response to a poem, I tell them what works and why, and what doesn't work and why.
American poetry, like American painting, is always personal with an emphasis on the individuality of the poet.
Because, in fact, women, feminists, do read my poetry, and they read it often with the power of their political interpretation. I don't care; that's what poetry is supposed to do.
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