A literary influence is never just a literary influence. It's also an influence in the way you see everything - in the way you feel your life.
Deep feeling doesn't make for good poetry. A way with language would be a bit of help.
I had assumed that I would age with all my friends growing old around me, dying off very gradually one by one. And here was a plague that cut them off so early.
As if hands were enough
To hold an avalanche off.
As humans we look at things and think about what we've looked at. We treasure it in a kind of private art gallery.
The painter saw what was, an alternate
Candor and secrecy inside the skin.
We learned in the university to consider Wordsworth and Keats as Romantics. They were only a generation apart, but Wordsworth didn't even read Keats's book when he gave him a copy.
I don't know how to sit outside myself and test against a hypothetical self who stayed home.
I was reading the poems of Rochester. Rochester made himself out to be bisexual, but I think that was only to shock. Most of his poetry is sexual, even pornographic.
I work best in rhyme and meter. I was most confident of myself in that way.
I notice that students, particularly for gay students, it's too easy to write about my last trick or something. It's not very interesting to the reader.
I think most men, heterosexual and homosexual, enjoy being considered sexual objects.
I haven't written anything in four years. I'm sort of dried up.
I don't think of sex as a self-destructive impulse.
There have been two popular subjects for poetry in the last few decades: the Vietnam War and AIDS, about both of which almost all of us have felt deeply.
Ginsberg's Collected Poems contains a wonderful poem about making it with Neal Cassady.
I admired what my students were writing, but I think their improvement doesn't directly result from me but from being in a class, being with each other.
I deliberately decided to write a kind of guide to leather bars for straight people, for people not into leather, so that people could see what it was all about.
I deliberately wrote a poem in my last book where I was suggesting that there are other passions as great as or more important than the passion of sex.
Many of my poems are not sexual.
My old teacher's definition of poetry is an attempt to understand.
We tend to put poems into factions. And it restricts our reading.
Direct me gods, whose changes are all holy, To where it flickers deep in grass, the moly.
Thus for each blunt-faced ignorant one The great grey rigid uniform combined Safety with virtue of the sun. Thus concepts linked like chainmail in the mind.
One joins the movement in a valueless world, Choosing it, till both hurler and the hurled, One moves as well, always toward, toward.
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