Convincing people to give your way a try will work if you neutralize – and sometimes you have to cauterize – the ones who really are against change. They’re the kind of person who, if you tell them it’s raining outside, they’ll fight you tooth and nail.
People don’t believe or understand that a community can lose hope. You can have a whole community where hopelessness is the norm, where folks don’t have faith that things will get better because history and circumstances have proven over 30, 40, or 50 years that things don’t get better.
You can force students to learn, to a certain extent, but students aren’t happy and employers aren’t happy.
If I were to die thinking that I’d written three poems that people might read after me, I would feel that I hadn’t lived in vain. Great poets might expect the whole body of their work, but most of us – well, I would settle for a handful.
It’s the combination of the intimate and the public that I find so exciting about being poet laureate.
I don’t go to see bands any more because I’ve got tinnitus, so I have to avoid loud music. You get used to it, but when it’s quiet you hear a constant ringing.
The presidential candidates are offering prescriptions for everything from Iraq to healthcare, but listen closely. Their fixes are situational and incremental. Meanwhile, the underlying structural problems in American politics and government are systemic and prevent us from solving our most intractable challenges.
Good dental care doesn’t make you a good student, but if your tooth hurts, it’s hard to be a good student.
When I was growing up, kids used to talk about snitching… It never extended as a cultural norm outside of the gangsters.
Learning is the new skill. Imagination, creation and asking new questions are at its core.