To a poet, it’s quite ruinous to have a poem distorted, out of shape, or squeezed, shall we say, into this tiny screen. But I’m not sure big digital companies are sensitive to the needs of poets.
Some honor Cummings as the granddaddy of all American innovators in poetry and ascribe to him a diverse progeny that includes virtually any poet who considers the page a field and allows silence to be part of poetry’s expressiveness.
When you put a book together and arrange it, there’s a lot of anxiety and turmoil about what order the poems should be in.
Poems, for me, begin as a social engagement. I want to establish a kind of sociability or even hospitality at the beginning of a poem. The title and the first few lines are a kind of welcome mat where I am inviting the reader inside.
When I became poet laureate, I was in a slightly uncomfortable position because I think a lot of poetry isn’t worth reading.
Radio is such a perfect medium for the transmission of poetry, primarily because there just is the voice, there’s no visual distraction.
Poetry can do a lot of things to people. I mean it can improve your imagination. It can take you to new places. It can give you this incredible form of verbal pleasure.
In the long revolt against inherited forms that has by now become the narrative of 20th-century poetry in English, no poet was more flamboyant or more recognizable in his iconoclasm than Cummings.
If an artist is driven primarily by social responsibility, I think the art probably suffers because, again, just as leadership has a rather defined end point or purpose, social responsibility would seem to have a very clear moral context.