I don’t know whether a poem has be there to help to develop something. I think it’s there for itself, for what the reader finds in it.
Nobody has ever written as many enjoyable, fun-to-read crime novels as Agatha Christie. It’s all about the storytelling and the pleasure of the reader. She doesn’t want to be deep or highbrow.
If you know what you’re talking about, or if you feel that you do, the reader will believe you.
The very concept of history implies the scholar and the reader. Without a generation of civilized people to study history, to preserve its records, to absorb its lessons and relate them to its own problems, history, too, would lose its meaning.
I would want the British reader to feel that religion in America isn’t an absurd thing – a sign of a pin head athwart a gigantic body.
I think there is a great difference, in that when the poet is reading you get the whole personality of the person, especially if he’s a good reader. Whereas a person just sitting gets what he puts into it.
Humor, for me, is really a gate of departure. It’s a way of enticing a reader into a poem so that less funny things can take place later. It really is not an end in itself, but a means to an end.
I wonder if I ever thought of an ideal reader… I guess when I was in my 20s and in New York and maybe even in my early 30s, I would write for my wife Janice… mainly for my poet friends and my wife, who was very smart about poetry.
When you’re writing, you think: How does intimacy happen in the work? You don’t know who your reader is, woman, man, child, black person, Asian, who knows?
The reader need not be told that John Bull never leaves home without encumbering himself with the greatest possible load of luggage. Our companions were no exception to the rule.