The kinds of truth that art gives us many, many times are small truths. They don’t have the resonance of an encyclical from the Pope stating an eternal truth, but they partake of the quality of eternity. There is a sort of timeless delight in them.
It’s difficult to learn poems off by heart that don’t rhyme.
It is very true to say that work done by writers is quite often an attempt to give solid expression to that which is bothering them… They feel they have got it right if they express the stress.
The fact of the matter is that the most unexpected and miraculous thing in my life was the arrival in it of poetry itself – as a vocation and an elevation almost.
A public expectation, it has to be said, not of poetry as such but of political positions variously approvable by mutually disapproving groups.
As a young poet, you need corroboration, and that’s what publication does.
I’ve been in the habit of helping people.
You can have Irish identity in the north and also have your Irish passport.
I came from a farming background, and my career was teaching.
The experimental poetry thing is not my thing. It’s a programme of the avant-garde: basically a refusal of the kind of poetry I write.