Southern poets are still writing narrative poems, poems in forms, dramatic poems.
You have to really dive deep back into yourself and get rid of so much modern analytical categorization. It’s one of the great things poetry does.
Alchemy is the art of far and near, and I think poetry is alchemy in that way. It’s delightful to distort size, to see something that’s tiny as though it were vast.
One of the most powerful devices is to distort time, to go from human time to atomic time, geologic time. Sometimes you can actually accomplish that, with one unexpected word choice.
I love chapbooks. They’re in some ways the ideal form in which to publish and read poems. You can read 19 poems in a way you can’t sit down and read 60 to 70 pages of poems.
I write as a way of keeping myself going. You build your life around writing, and it’s what gets you through. So it’s partly just curiosity to see what you can do.
I seem to keep returning to my father in poems because his personality was so extreme, so driven. He did everything to excess.
A lot of my students are Asian-American, and it has been thrilling to watch them break through the stereotypes into something alive and surprising.
Some people want to call me an Appalachian writer, even though I know some people use regional labels to belittle.
In the late 60s and early 70s, I did get interested in voices, and in narration and embodying the voice, making the poem sound like a real person talking.