Nations are born in the hearts of poets, they prosper and die in the hands of politicians.
At the time I was growing up, literature was involved with the so-called confessional poets. And I was not interested in that. I did not think that specific and personal perspective functioned well for the reader at all.
When I began writing, I didn’t read any other children’s poets… I didn’t want to be influenced until I’d found my own voice. Now I read them all.
And some poets are far better read off the page because they’re very bad speakers. I’m thinking of one in particular whom I won’t name, a good poet, and he reads in such a dry, boring way, your eyes start drooping.
To have great poets, there must be great audiences.
Concrete poets continue to turn out beautiful things, but to me they’re more visual than oral, and they almost really belong on the wall rather than in a book. I haven’t the least idea of where poetry is going.
If I were to die thinking that I’d written three poems that people might read after me, I would feel that I hadn’t lived in vain. Great poets might expect the whole body of their work, but most of us – well, I would settle for a handful.
Francis Webb is easily our greatest poet and one of the greatest poets in the world but he’s hardly ever mentioned.
There is an extraordinary degree of amity among Washington poets. They hang together. You would be hard pressed to find that in Manhattan.
Poets are accepted in Canada as practically nowhere else in the West because of their place in an officially supported and popularly endorsed Canadian culture. Yet, they are still bitter and argumentative, as poets elsewhere are, because they have no audience as such, only a sanctioned role in the cultural scheme of things.