Emily Dickinson seems rather tame because she pretty much uses the same meter every time. It’s called ‘common meter.’ It’s a line of four beats that’s followed by a line of three beats.
I see a direct line between Kennedy and Richard Nixon and the opening to China and the detente with the Soviet Union.
I think what gets a poem going is an initiating line. Sometimes a first line will occur, and it goes nowhere; but other times – and this, I think, is a sense you develop – I can tell that the line wants to continue.
We Negro writers, just by being black, have been on the blacklist all our lives. Censorship for us begins at the color line.
We do not possess an official certificate of birth for worship of one God. But the family line is clear: the Jews invented it to endure the coherence, cohesion and existence of their small, threatened people.
If I don’t write down a thought – or an image or a line of poetry – the instant it comes to mind, it vanishes, which explains why I have pens and notebooks in my pants and coat pockets, the car, the bicycle basket, on one or two desks in every room including bathrooms and the kitchen.
There is a very fine line between loving life and being greedy for it.
I come from a long line of revolutionaries.
I love form, but I’m not interested in forms. I’ve never written a sonnet or villanelle or sestina or any of that. For me, it’s a kind of line. It’s a rhythm. It’s something musical.
Poetry seems to sink into us the way prose doesn’t. I can still quote verses I learned when I was very young, but I have trouble remembering one line of a novel I just finished reading.