It’s the combination of the intimate and the public that I find so exciting about being poet laureate.
It really wasn’t until I was in college when I began to write more and more, and I realized I was scheduling my entire life around my writing.
I didn’t know writers could be real live people, because I never knew any writers.
It makes me furious to hear haters of all skin colors – especially Christian, Jewish, and Muslim fundamentalists – deride other people because of their different beliefs and lifestyles.
You have to imagine it possible before you can see something. You can have the evidence right in front of you, but if you can’t imagine something that has never existed before, it’s impossible.
I thought, after the Pulitzer, at least nothing will surprise me quite that much in my life. And another one happened. It was quite amazing.
Instead of trying to come up and pontificate on what literature is, you need to talk with children, to teachers, and make sure they get poetry in the curriculum early.
Going to the library was the one place we got to go without asking for permission. And they let us choose what we wanted to read. It was a feeling of having a book be mine entirely.
When we are touched by something it’s as if we’re being brushed by an angel’s wings.
There are distinct duties of a poet laureate. I plan a reading series at the Library of Congress and advise the librarian. The rest is how I want to promote poetry.