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.
I said I have no powers of invention. Well, I also have no powers of mimicry.
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.
I don't think of myself all the time.
But you'd have a job to find many of my poems which would seem to be very influenced by a particular person.
I used to have a great love for Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, the big boys of the last century.
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.
When I talk of hearing a poet's voice speaking, I always think of it as in the presence of the man.
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.
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 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.
I used to fish the Border rivers, but nowadays you have to queue up for a shot and I can't stand that.
And some poets are far better read off the page because they're very bad speakers. I'm thinking of one in particular whom I won't name, a good poet, and he reads in such a dry, boring way, your eyes start drooping.
And it's impossible for me to read Henry James.
Well, I'm a light traveller. I chuck things away.
I'm very gregarious, but I love being in the hills on my own.
But I hang on to books. I love them. I even think they're very nice decor in a room - far better than paintings... That's not quite true!
I don't care whether a book is a first edition or not. I'm not a bibliophile in that word's natural sense.
When I was a teacher, teachers would come into my classroom and admire my desk on which lay nothing whatever, whereas theirs were heaped with papers and books.
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