Our poems will have failed if our readers are not brought by them beyond the poems.
When I was a child in the 1940s and early 1950s, my parents and grandparents spoke of Britain as home, and New Zealand had this strong sense of identity and coherence as being part of the commonwealth and a the identity of its people as being British.
In our period, they say there is free speech. They say there is no penalty for poets, There is no penalty for writing poems. They say this. This is the penalty.
Local images have one kind of reality. ‘U.S. 1’ will, I hope, have that kind and another, too. Poetry can extend the document.
I should like to use another word: ‘audience’ or ‘reader’ or ‘listener’ seems inadequate. I suggest the old word ‘witness,’ which includes the act of seeing and knowing by personal experience, as well as the act of giving evidence.
I think there is choice possible to us at any moment, as long as we live. But there is no sacrifice. There is a choice, and the rest falls away. Second choice does not exist. Beware of those who talk about sacrifice.
A huge change has taken place in my lifetime.
Breathe-in experience, breathe-out poetry.
The sources of poetry are in the spirit seeking completeness.
School is a twelve-year jail sentence where bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned. I teach school and win awards doing it. I should know.