When I go fishing I like to know that there's nobody within five miles of me.
However, I learned something. I thought that if the young person, the student, has poetry in him or her, to offer them help is like offering a propeller to a bird.
And the second question, can poetry be taught? I didn't think so.
There are some friends you don't meet for twenty years and when you meet them again it's as if no twenty years has happened - you're lucky when that happens. I feel the same about books.
I learned words, I learned words; but half of them
died from lack of exercise. And the ones I use
often look at me
with a look that whispers, Liar.
Well, I love fishing. I wouldn't kill a fly myself but I've no hesitation in killing a fish. A lot of men are like that. No bother. Out you come. Thump. And that's not the only reason.
A terrible thing about getting oldish is that your friends start dying, and in the last ten years I have lost seven or eight of my closest.
All I write about is what's happened to me and to people I know, and the better I know them, the more likely they are to be written about.
Landscape is my religion. ...God in a green legend, I lean over the pool In a testament of leaves. I dangle my twinkling mood Before me in a cool cave roofed with branches And floored with a skin of water.
And in a way, that's been a help to me, because I take great passions for a particular poet - sometimes it lasts for many years, sometimes only for a while. This happens to everybody.
All those authors there, most of whom of course I've never met. That's the poetry side, that's the prose side, that's the fishing and miscellaneous behind me. You get an affection for books that you've enjoyed.
When I was asked to be Writer in Residence at Edinburgh I thought, you can't teach poetry. This is ridiculous.
Anybody who writes doesn't like to be misunderstood.
I said I have no powers of invention. Well, I also have no powers of mimicry.
I used to have a great love for Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, the big boys of the last century.
I just didn't want to shoot other people.
I was very interested in American poetry for many years. Much less now.
People haven't got the interest in long long works these days. A lack of interest which I share.
In some ways I'm a reticent man, and for quite a number of years there wasn't very much of my real true deep feelings in my writing.
It's like breathing in and out to me. It's like having a conversation with someone who isn't there. Because it has to be addressed to somebody - not a particular person, or very rarely.
In fact a lot of them I think are absolute baloney. Those Charles Olsens and people like that. At first I was interested in seeing what they were up to, what they were doing, why they were doing it. They never moved me in the way that one is moved by true poetry.
When I talk of hearing a poet's voice speaking, I always think of it as in the presence of the man.
I only keep books that I like very much. Otherwise I'd throw them out.
I never think about poetry except when I'm writing it. I mean my poetry.
Well, I'm a light traveller. I chuck things away.
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