I try not to put messages in my songs. My only message is man’s communication with his fellow man. I want to narrow the gap of strangeness and alienation.
I think of my poems as personal and public at the same time. You could say they serve as psychological overlays. One fits on top of the other, and hopefully there’s an ongoing evolution of clarity.
The war has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage.
I see many black males grasping for some thread of hope. There are so many destructive practices, glimpses into a psychic abyss. That must be very frightening.
I am not convinced the truth can make men free, but I believe it a beginning.
For many people, I was a phase, a part of the period of growing up. People ask me why I connected. It was presumptuous of me to say, but I’m Everyman. The difference is I put my thoughts into words.
I excavate history. I look at lives buried under too much silence. Periods of time, like slavery, have to be revisited, reimagined, so we can move through them.
Students often have such a lofty idea of what a poem is, and I want them to realize that their own lives are where the poetry comes from. The most important things are to respect the language; to know the classical rules, even if only to break them; and to be prepared to edit, to revise, to shape.
I can’t understand people who give up and commit suicide. If I have a bad day, I figure tomorrow will be better. And even if it isn’t, at least it isn’t any worse.
I was tired. I peaked. I left when I was on top. One year, I did 280 concerts.