It was difficult being a teacher and out of the closet in the ’50s. By the time I retired, the English department was proud of having a gay poet of a certain minor fame. It was a very satisfactory change!
I don’t know how to sit outside myself and test against a hypothetical self who stayed home.
We tend to put poems into factions. And it restricts our reading.
When I first started to write, I was aware of being queer, but I didn’t write about it. Queer poems would probably not have been accepted by the editors I sent them to.
I think most men, heterosexual and homosexual, enjoy being considered sexual objects.
I notice that students, particularly for gay students, it’s too easy to write about my last trick or something. It’s not very interesting to the reader.
I admired what my students were writing, but I think their improvement doesn’t directly result from me but from being in a class, being with each other.
When I was an undergraduate I had very badly annotated editions of Shakespeare’s sonnets, all of which left out the important fact that will has a sexual sense in Shakespeare’s sonnets.
I deliberately wrote a poem in my last book where I was suggesting that there are other passions as great as or more important than the passion of sex.
I don’t think of sex as a self-destructive impulse.