A novel takes place over time. It’s a historical narrative, and it needs to have a series of peaks and valleys and the move through. You can’t just start at the highest pitch and stay there, but you can in a lyric poem.
There’s never been a culture without poetry in the history of the world.
One of the things that happens to everyone who is grief-stricken, who has lost someone, is there comes a time when everyone else just wants you to get over it, but of course you don’t get over it. You get stronger; you try and live on; you endure; you change; but you don’t get over it. You carry it with you.
The elegy does the work of mourning; it allows us to experience mortality. It turns loss into remembrance, and it delivers an inheritance.
When I was young, I wrote everything, and I thought I would be an all around writer, that I would write everything.
Someone who’s awake in the middle of the night is a soul consciousness when everyone else is asleep, and that creates a feeling of solitude in poetry that I very much like.
When I taught at the University of Houston in the Creative Writing program, we required the poets to take workshops in fiction writing, and we required the fiction writers to take workshops in poetry.
Poetry takes courage because you have to face things and you try to articulate how you feel.
I aspire to a poetry of great formal integrity, deep passion and high intellect, and I have many models for how to do that.