Back then, I couldn’t have left a poem a year and gone back to it.
My father died when I was five, but I grew up in a strong family.
I realized poetry’s the thing that I can do ’cause I can stick at it and work with tremendous intensity.
My sense of a poem – my notion of how you revise – is: you get yourself into a state where what you are intensely conscious of is not why you wrote it or how you wrote it, but what you wrote.
I’m seventy-one now, so it’s hard to imagine a dramatic change.
No one can write like Vallejo and not sound like a fraud. He’s just too much himself and not you.
The irony is, going to work every day became the subject of probably my best poetry.
There’ll always be working people in my poems because I grew up with them, and I am a poet of memory.
Meet some people who care about poetry the way you do. You’ll have that readership. Keep going until you know you’re doing work that’s worthy. And then see what happens. That’s my advice.
But most commonly, it’s one poem that I work on with a lot of intensity.