Dismissals of poetry are nothing new. It’s easy to dismiss poetry if one has not read much of it.
The thing about great poetry is we have no defenses against it.
From the catbird seat, I’ve found poetry to be the necessary utterance it has always been in America.
For me, poetry is a situation – a state of being, a way of facing life and facing history.
I loathe the trivialization of poetry that happens in creative writing classes. Teachers set exercises to stimulate subject matter: Write a poem about an imaginary landscape with real people in it. Write about a place your parents lived in before you were born. We have enough terrible poetry around without encouraging more of it.
Poetry: the best words in the best order.
I would say that American poetry has always been a poetry of personal testimony.
There are interesting forms of difficulty, and there are unprofitable forms of difficulty. I mean, I enjoy some difficult poetry, but some of it is impenetrable and I actually wouldn’t want to penetrate it if I could, perhaps.
I find in my poetry and prose the rhythms and imagery of the best – I mean, when I’m at my best – of the good Southern black preachers. The lyricism of the spirituals and the directness of gospel songs and the mystery of blues are in my music or in my poetry and prose, or I missed everything.
Poetry is a sort of homecoming.