I may be smelly and I may be old, Rough in my pebbles, reedy in my pools, But where my fish float by I bless their swimming, And I like the people to bathe in me especially women.
I felt the need to be more open and expressive of my feelings, not just about the hills and the countryside, but about the daily life.
Everything important always begins from something trivial.
In 1952, I recited aloud for the first time, booming in Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre from a bad poem that had won a prize. I was twenty-three.
Prose is not so dependent on sound. The line of poetry, with the breaking of the line – to me, sound is the kind of doorway into poetry. And my sense of sound, or my ability to control it, lapsed or grew less.
I loathe the trivialization of poetry that happens in creative writing classes. Teachers set exercises to stimulate subject matter: Write a poem about an imaginary landscape with real people in it. Write about a place your parents lived in before you were born. We have enough terrible poetry around without encouraging more of it.
In my life, I’ve seen enormous increase in the consumption of poetry. When I was young, there were virtually no poetry readings.
All poetry has to do is to make a strong communication. All the poet has to do is listen. The poet is not an important fellow. There will also be another poet.
As I grew older – collapsing into my seventies, glimpsing ahead the cliffs of the eighties, colliding into eighty-five – poetry abandoned me.
You’ve never seen a Columbine done by a black child. Never. They always say, ‘We can’t believe it happened here. We can’t believe it’s these suburban white kids.’ It’s only them!