One of the ridiculous aspects of being a poet is the huge gulf between how seriously we take ourselves and how generally we are ignored by everybody else.
I did try to write stories in college because I was interested in writing, and I was interested in the sound of language, but I was just no good at narrative and at fiction.
Besides the aesthetics, besides teaching an appreciation of T.S. Eliot, a basic need is fulfilled when you teach English at CUNY.
I’m an only child, and I can take all the attention you manage to pile on me.
A lot of my poems either have historical sequences or other kinds of chronological grids where I’m locating myself in time. I like to feel oriented, and I like to orient the reader at the beginning of a poem.
I think more influential than Emily Dickinson or Coleridge or Wordsworth on my imagination were Warner Brothers, Merrie Melodies, and Loony Tunes cartoons.
The pen is an instrument of discovery rather than just a recording implement. If you write a letter of resignation or something with an agenda, you’re simply using a pen to record what you have thought out.
Emily Dickinson seems rather tame because she pretty much uses the same meter every time. It’s called ‘common meter.’ It’s a line of four beats that’s followed by a line of three beats.
I think what gets a poem going is an initiating line. Sometimes a first line will occur, and it goes nowhere; but other times – and this, I think, is a sense you develop – I can tell that the line wants to continue.
I don’t think I’ve ever written a poem whose intention was just to be funny. I’ve written poems that start out funny and often shift into something more serious.