I defer to all these other American poets who, for some reason, I both envy and admire.
I have seen periods of progress followed by reaction. I have seen the hopes and aspirations of Negroes rise during World War II, only to be smashed during the Eisenhower years. I am seeing the victories of the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations destroyed by Richard Nixon.
And if they haven’t got poetry in them, there’s nothing you can do that will produce it.
We demand that segregation be ended in every school district in the year 1963! We demand that we have effective civil rights legislation – no compromise, no filibuster – and that include public accommodations, decent housing, integrated education, FEPC and the right to vote.
When I was asked to be Writer in Residence at Edinburgh I thought, you can’t teach poetry. This is ridiculous.
I am happy to have some friends here in the kitchen.
And it’s impossible for me to read Henry James.
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.
I hope you’re representing the devil’s advocate.
War is wrong. Conscription for war is inconsistent with freedom of conscience, which is not merely the right to believe but to act on the degree of truth that one receives, to follow a vocation which is God-inspired and God-directed.