I knew about holiness, never having missed a Sunday-school class since I started at four years. But if Jews were also religious, how could our neighbor with the grease-grimy shirt use the word ‘damn’ about them?
But maybe it’s up in the hills under the leaves or in a ditch somewhere. Maybe it’s never found. But what you find, whatever you find, is always only part of the missing, and writing is the way the poet finds out what it is he found.
Our small ears never had such a workout as on the Fourth of July, hearing not only our own bursting crackers but also those of our friends, and often the boom of homemade cannon shot off by daring boys of 16 years, ready to lose a hand if it blew up.
I have lectured at Town Hall N.Y., The Library of Congress, Harvard, Yale, Amherst, Wellesley, Columbia, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana State University, Colorado, Stanford, and scores of other places.
All families had their special Christmas food. Ours was called Dutch Bread, made from a dough halfway between bread and cake, stuffed with citron and every sort of nut from the farm – hazel, black walnut, hickory, butternut.
Poetry is ordinary language raised to the Nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.
I can still remember the feel in my hand of that most wonderful American coin ever minted, a nickel with a buffalo on one side and the head of an Indian on the other. That nickel was a daily proof of our country’s past. Bring it back!
The way to praise a poet is to write a poem.
A barn with cattle and horses is the place to begin Christmas; after all, that’s where the original event happened, and that same smell was the first air that the Christ Child breathed.
I began to write poetry in high school, and would ride miles over sandy roads in the fine hills around Cedar Rapids, repeating the lines over and over until I had them right, making some of the rhythm of the horse help.