When I was a child, I loved old people. My New Hampshire grandfather was my model human being.
When I lived summers at my grandparents’ farm, haying with my grandfather from 1938 to 1945, my dear grandmother Kate cooked abominably. For noon dinners, we might eat three days of fricasseed chicken from a setting hen that had boiled twelve hours.
I don’t publish anything I haven’t worked over 100 times.
Contentment is work so engrossing that you do not know that you are working.
Although I was paid a salary in Ann Arbor, my wife and children and I drank powdered milk at six cents a quart instead of the stuff that came in bottles. I was a tightwad.
In anything you write – in a short story, a poem – there has to be a counter-motion; it can’t go all in one direction.
By 1968, I had lived 10 years in Michigan. Gradually, I had come to love watching Detroit’s baseball club in its small, beautiful, antiquated Tiger Stadium – a baseball park as fine as Fenway Park or Wrigley Field, though it never got the adulatory press.
My parents were willing to let me follow my nose, do what I wanted to do, and they supported my interest by buying the books that I wanted for birthdays and Christmas, almost always poetry books.
I write longhand; I make changes longhand, and I have an assistant who types it up. She lives 70 yards away. Every afternoon, I have a case I leave out on the porch, and she brings it back the next morning.
Poetry offers works of art that are beautiful, like paintings, which are my second favorite work of the art, but there are also works of art that embody emotion and that are kind of school for feeling. They teach how to feel, and they do this by the means of their beauty of language.