The sound of the mandolin is a very curious sound because it’s cheerful and melancholy at the same time, and I think it comes from that shadow string, the double strings.
I try to show what it is about language and music that enthralls, because I think those are the two elements of poetry.
There will always be places in the world where good schools don’t exist and good teachers don’t want to go, not just in the developing world but in places of socioeconomic hardship.
There is not a great sense that the Americans know what they are doing, or are making much progress in Iraq. And there is satisfaction in seeing that the Iraqis are successful in resisting the United States.
I enjoy research; in fact research is so engaging that it would be easy to go on for years, and never write the novel at all.
I wanted to reimagine the role, in a way that was respectful of its traditional responsibilities but made them part of a wider pattern of poetry about national incidents, events, preoccupations; and to spend a great deal of time going to schools trying to demystify poetry.
It is important to have permanent safe spaces in Harlem.
Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful.
But I can’t and don’t ever want to write bell-yanking confetti-tossing hat-throwing poems.
Thanks partly to the kind of poets that we now have and partly to funding, there’s been a gigantic shift in the way poetry is perceived… Poems on the Underground, poets in schools, football clubs, zoos.