There have been only rare moments in history where individual histories were able to run their course without wars or revolutions.
If a law commands me to sin I will break it; if it calls me to suffer, I will let it take its course unresistingly.
I’m not going to appeal to violence or aggression – of course not.
It is almost impossible to imagine that any one could be so insensible to the high morality of Mr. Mill’s character as to suggest to him any course of conduct that was not entirely upright and consistent.
What I try to do is to go into a poem – and one writes them, of course, poem by poem – to go into each poem, first of all without having any sense whatsoever of where it’s going to end up.
Democracy does not require perfect equality, but it does require that citizens share a common life. What matters is that people of different backgrounds and social positions encounter one another, and bump up against one another, in the course of ordinary life.
I love painting and music, of course. I don’t know nearly as much about them as I know about poetry. I’ve certainly been influenced by fiction. I was overwhelmed by War and Peace when I read it, and I didn’t read it until I was in my late 20s.
I am interested in 18th century natural philosophy, science, particularly botany, the study of hybridity in plants and animals, which, of course, then allows me to consider the hybridity of language.
For me, the real earth is that chosen part of the universe, still almost universally dispersed and in course of gradual segregation, but which is little by little taking on body and form in Christ.
Because wherever I am today, I still owe it to God and I owe it to two men – the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X and of course, two very special women, my mother and my wife.