The reason a poet is a poet is to write poems, not to advertise himself as a poet.
I used to stand on the corner in San Diego with poems sticking out of my hip pocket, asking people if there was a place where I could read poems. The audience is half of the poem.
In all the poems I’ve written I’ve not really engaged in politics, and when I’ve found myself moving in that direction I’ve always stopped myself.
Many years, I would publish four books – an anthology, a book of criticism, a new book of poems, a book of essays.
I’ve reached a point in life where it would be easy to let down my guard and write simple imagistic poems. But I don’t want to write poems that aren’t necessary. I want to write poems that matter, that have an interesting point of view.
And Robert Lowell, of course – in his poems, we’re not located in his actual life. We’re located more in the externals, in the journalistic facts of his life.
I didn’t learn much about writing at Sarah Lawrence, but I learned a lot about the sources of poems – dreams, myth, history – from the really great teachers, Joseph Campbell, Charles Trinkhaus, Bert Loewenberg, and a young Australian anthropologist named Harry Hawthorne.
Poems – crystallizations of the universal play of analogy, transparent objects which, as they reproduce the mechanism and the rotary motion of analogy, are waterspouts of new analogies.
I’m very aware of the presence of a reader, and that probably is a reaction against a lot of poems that I do read which seem oblivious to my presence as a reader.
When it comes to poetry, I think partly the numbers of people attempting to write poems is probably a result or the reaction to technology.