I’d fully taken the road many people start on, but most abandon: common sense had given me a miss, and I’d become an artist.
I was always very aware of the nature of the place where I was growing up in Gulfport, Mississippi, how that place was shaping my experience of the world. I had to go to the Northeast for graduate school because I felt like I had to get far away from my South, be outside it, to understand it.
I’ve been telling my students, ‘Imitate, imitate.’ And they say, ‘Well, what if I plagiarize, or what if I’m not original? I want to be myself.’ And I always tell them, ‘Your self will shine through’… If you allow yourself to feel deeply and honestly, what you say won’t be like anyone else.
There’s certainly nothing original about the observation that conscious experience poses a hard problem.
Poetry’s a thing that belongs to everyone.
I think the existence of zombies would contradict certain laws of nature in our world. It seems to be a law of nature, in our world, that when you get a brain of a certain character you get consciousness going along with it.
It is a tremendous honor to be named poet laureate, but one that I find humbling as well, because it’s the kind of thing that makes me feel like – even as it’s been bestowed upon me – I must continue to live up to what it means… Being the younger laureate in the age of social media is a new challenge.
No one is depressed when they’re asleep, which is why being in bed is such a safe place if you’re really down.
Because the idea of zombies seems to make sense, and seems to, in a certain sense, be possible, I think one can use that to argue against the thesis that everything is purely physical. Now many people, I think, agree that the idea of zombies are conceivable, including people who want to be physicalists.
The entirety of ‘Bellocq’s Ophelia’ was a project, and I was interested in doing research and looking at photographs and writing about them, imagining this woman Ophelia and what her life was like and the kinds of things she thought about.