It’s very hard to write humor.
And Robert Lowell, of course – in his poems, we’re not located in his actual life. We’re located more in the externals, in the journalistic facts of his life.
I believe that all poetry is formal in that it exists within limits, limits that are either inherited by tradition or limits that language itself imposes.
I tend to like poems that engage me – that is to say, which do not bore me.
And at least in poetry you should feel free to lie. That is, not to lie, but to imagine what you want, to follow the direction of the poem.
From the reader’s view, a poem is more demanding than prose.
But I tend to think of the expressive part of me as rather tedious – never curious or responsive, but blind and self-serving.
I think the best American poetry is the poetry that utilizes the resources of poetry rather than exploits the defects or triumphs of the poet’s personality.
Poetry is something that happens in universities, in creative writing programs or in English departments.
I certainly can’t speak for all cultures or all societies, but it’s clear that in America, poetry serves a very marginal purpose. It’s not part of the cultural mainstream.