I think writing about unhappiness is probably the source of my popularity, if I have any-after all, most people are unhappy, don’t you think?
If I had taken a doctoral degree, it would have stifled any writing capacity.
I began my writing life as a poet, so poetry has always been fundamental. I evolved from poetry to journalism to stories to novels. But poetry was always there.
If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that’s read by persons who move their lips when they’re reading to themselves.
I discovered that, in order to write a magnificent piece, you should shoot the images because once you are filming, you are writing the script in your mind.
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.
I began writing poems when I was about eight, with a heavy assist from my mother. She read me Arthur Waley’s translations and Whitman and Robinson Jeffers, who have been lifelong influences on me. My father read Keats to me, and then he read more Keats while I was lying on the sofa struggling with asthma.
Writing can be an incredible mindfulness practice.
I was born left-handed, but I was made to use my other hand. When I was writing ‘Famished Road,’ which was very long, I got repetitive stress syndrome. My right wrist collapsed, so I started using my left hand. The prose I wrote with my left hand came out denser, so later on I had to change it.
Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.