My mother had an illegal abortion in 1960, which was the year the birth control pill came out, but I guess a little late for her, but – and I never knew. I found out when my father, after her death, got her FBI file.
I think the first little jolt I got was reading Gerard Manley Hopkins – I liked other poems… but Hopkins was kind of electric for me – he changed the rules with speech, and the whole intensity of the language was there and so on.
If we are suffering illness, poverty, or misfortune, we think we shall be satisfied on the day it ceases. But there too, we know it is false; so soon as one has got used to not suffering one wants something else.
I wrote some of the worst poetry west from the Mississippi River, but I wrote. And I finally sometimes got it right.
A cabaret song has got to be written – for the middle voice, ideally – because you’ve got to hear the wit of the words. And a cabaret song gives the singer room to act, more even than an opera singer.
The closer a Negro got to the ballot box, the more he looked like a rapist.
I never abandoned either forms or freedom. I imagine that most of what could be called free verse is in my first book. I got through that fairly early.
You’ve got to stop dividing yourselves. You got to organize.
I always liked show biz and got to make a few training films at Boeing.
We shouldn’t have got married, really. Shouldn’t have got married. Too young. Not ready for it.