I’ve said what I’m prepared to say in my poems, and then journalists think that you’re going to tell them a whole lot more.
Poetry at its best can do you a lot of harm.
Well, I love fishing. I wouldn’t kill a fly myself but I’ve no hesitation in killing a fish. A lot of men are like that. No bother. Out you come. Thump. And that’s not the only reason.
Write what you know. That should leave you with a lot of free time.
A lot of the fun lies in trying to penetrate the mystery; and this is best done by saying over the lines to yourself again and again, till they pass through the stage of sounding like nonsense, and finally return to a full sense that had at first escaped notice.
I teach a lecture course on American poetry to as many as 150 students. For a lot of them, it’s their only elective, so this is their one shot. They’ll take the Russian Novel or American Poetry, so I want to give them the high points, the inescapable poets.
People like me sound like a lot of big cannons.
A lot of people refuse to do things because they don’t want to go naked, don’t want to go without guarantee. But that’s what’s got to happen. You go naked until you die.
I write quite a lot of sonnets, and I think of them almost as prayers: short and memorable, something you can recite.
A lot of people feel that the realm of poetry and the realm of the lyric is personal feeling and should rise above politics, which, in fact, good poetry has never done.