My sense of a poem – my notion of how you revise – is: you get yourself into a state where what you are intensely conscious of is not why you wrote it or how you wrote it, but what you wrote.
I’m seventy-one now, so it’s hard to imagine a dramatic change.
No one can write like Vallejo and not sound like a fraud. He’s just too much himself and not you.
The irony is, going to work every day became the subject of probably my best poetry.
There’ll always be working people in my poems because I grew up with them, and I am a poet of memory.
Meet some people who care about poetry the way you do. You’ll have that readership. Keep going until you know you’re doing work that’s worthy. And then see what happens. That’s my advice.
But most commonly, it’s one poem that I work on with a lot of intensity.
I started listening to music when I wrote when I had three sons at home.
I listen to jazz about three hours a day. I love Louis Armstrong.
I have a sense that many Americans, especially those like me with European or foreign parents, feel they have to invent their families just as they have to invent themselves.