The Vietnam War and the Iraq war, in different ways, both made me feel like I could not not address them. I’m very doubtful about the usefulness of poetry to do that.
The deepest problems of modern life derive from the claim of the individual to preserve the autonomy and individuality of his existence in the face of overwhelming social forces, of historical heritage, of external culture, and of the technique of life.
For this reason, strangers are not really conceived as individuals, but as strangers of a particular type: the element of distance is no less general in regard to them than the element of nearness.
The Earth forgives the previous year every year.
When I was younger, I was so crazy about poetry that I didn’t notice who was noticing. It seemed to me so tremendous and large.
Cities are, first of all, seats of the highest economic division of labor.
I would say Gary Snyder, who is from my part of the world as a poet and environmental thinker, will be read just as Henry Thoreau as John Muir will continue to be read.
If youth is a defect, it is one we outgrow too soon.
In order to accommodate to change and to the contrast of phenomena, the intellect does not require any shocks and inner upheavals; it is only through such upheavals that the more conservative mind could accommodate to the metropolitan rhythm of events.
To this congress the poet speaks not of peculiar and personal things, but of what in himself is most common, most anonymous, most fundamental, most true of all men.