Irish poets, learn your trade, sing whatever is well made, scorn the sort now growing up all out of shape from toe to top.
I have learned so much from working with other poets, travelling and reading with them, spending days discussing poems in progress. There is the sense that we are all, as writers, part of something which is more powerful than any of us.
Poets go through a very tough apprenticeship in the use of words.
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.
Many poets write books. They’ll tell you: Well, I’ve got my next book, but there are two poems I need to write, one about x, one about y. This is a wonder to me.
Southern poets are still writing narrative poems, poems in forms, dramatic poems.
Yes, you can feel very alone as a poet and you sometimes think, is it worth it? Is it worth carrying on? But because there were other poets, you became part of a scene. Even though they were very different writers, it made it easier because you were together.
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.