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.
Still, language is resilient, and poetry when it is pressured simply goes underground.
I write in the first person because I have always wanted to make my life more interesting than it was.
Poetry is one of the essential structures of civilization - carrying myth, ritual, 'tales of the tribe' and the essence of language.
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.
We are authors, all of us, concerned with beginning, with making, with sources and substance.
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 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.
Poems come from incomplete knowledge.
High and low culture come together in all Post Modern art, and American poetry is not excluded from this.
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 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.
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.
American poetry is always about defining oneself individually,claiming one's right to be different and often to break taboos.
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.
American poets celebrate their bodies, very specifically, as Whitman did.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes the archaism of the language when it's spoken is why we are all in love with the Irish today.
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