Poetry is the art of saying what you mean but disguising it.
I write in the first person because I have always wanted to make my life more interesting than it was.
Learning to live what you're born with is the process, the involvement, the making of a life.
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.
American poets celebrate their bodies, very specifically, as Whitman did.
I think one of the things that language poets are very involved with is getting away from conventional ideas of beauty, because those ideas contain a certain attitude toward women, certain attitudes toward sex, certain attitudes toward race, etc.
My poems are almost all written as Diane. I don't have any problems with that, and if other women choose to identify with this, I think that's terrific.
I'm perfectly happy when I look out at an audience and it's all women. I always think it's kind of odd, but then, more women than men, I think, read and write poetry.
I am not political as a person.
I have always wanted what I have now come to call the voice of personal narrative. That has always been the appealing voice in poetry. It started for me lyrically in Shakespeare's sonnets.
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.
I definitely wish to distinguish American poetry from British or other English language poetry.
I had been dreaming a complicated dream about helping poets revise their poems, so that each ending would open like a flower. I was not arguing, but engaged in a rousing discussion.
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.
What line breaks add to prose prosody is a connection between eye
and ear which emphasizes the nature of the language by ... creating
units of intent and emphasis, and by contouring the meloding pitch
changes in the narrative-line.
Distinctly American poetry is usually written in the context of one's geographic landscape, sometimes out of one's cultural myths, and often with reference to gender and race or ethnic origins.
But I don't think that poetry is a good, to use a contemporary word, venue, for current events.
But I am not political in the current events sense, and I have never wanted anyone to read my poetry that way.
High and low culture come together in all Post Modern art, and American poetry is not excluded from this.
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.
I do not read newspapers. I do not watch television. I am not interested in current events, although I will occasionally discuss them if other people want to discuss them.
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.
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.
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