If poetry and the arts do anything, they can fortify your inner life, your inwardness.
I have always thought of poems as stepping stones in one’s own sense of oneself. Every now and again, you write a poem that gives you self-respect and steadies your going a little bit farther out in the stream. At the same time, you have to conjure the next stepping stone because the stream, we hope, keeps flowing.
The amount of sensory material stored up or stored down in the brain’s and the body’s systems is inestimable. It’s like a culture at the bottom of a jar, although it doesn’t grow, I think, or help anything else to grow unless you find a way to reach it and touch it.
I believe we are put here to improve civilisation.
My passport’s green.
Poetry is more a threshold than a path.
Since I was a schoolboy, I’ve been used to being recognized on the road by old and young, and being bantered with and, indeed, being taunted.
Yeats was 18th-century oratory, almost.
To encounter ‘Beowulf’ is like taking a sledgehammer to a quarry face. You must bang in there.
I always had a superstitious fear of setting up a too well-designed writing place and then finding that the writing had absconded.