Poetry, almost by definition, calls attention to its language and form.
Some people swear by writing courses, but whether it really helps American poetry, I have doubts.
I love to compare different time frames. Poetry can evoke the time of the subject. By a very careful choice of words you can evoke an era, completely throw the poem into a different time scale.
I love chapbooks. They're in some ways the ideal form in which to publish and read poems. You can read 19 poems in a way you can't sit down and read 60 to 70 pages of poems.
One of the biggest changes that ever occurred in my life was going from the isolation of working part-time as a house painter in Henderson County, to Cornell, where everybody was a literary person.
I love to create interesting textures with language. You can do it as long as it seems like a discovery.
You have to really dive deep back into yourself and get rid of so much modern analytical categorization. It's one of the great things poetry does.
I did not have a very literary background. I came to poetry from the sciences and mathematics, and also through an interest in Japanese and Chinese poetry in translation.
A poem in form still has to have voice, gesture, a sense of discovery, a metaphoric connection, as any poetry does.
Our most famous writers are Faulkner and Eudora Welty and Flannery O'Connor. It would make sense that the poetry would reflect some of those same values, some of the same techniques.
The great watershed of modern poetry is French, more than English.
The decision to write in prose instead of poetry is made more by the readers than by writers. Almost no one is interested in reading narrative in verse.
Teaching writing over the years intrudes on your own writing in important ways, taking away some of the excitement of poetry.
I don't think American poetry has gotten any better in the past 35 years. Oddly enough, creative writing programs seem to have been good for fiction, and I would not have predicted that.
I don't think poetry is something that can be taught. We can encourage young writers, but what you can't teach them is the very essence of poetry.
Alchemy is the art of far and near, and I think poetry is alchemy in that way. It's delightful to distort size, to see something that's tiny as though it were vast.
If a poem is not memorable, there's probably something wrong. One of the problems of free verse is that much of the free verse poetry is not memorable.
I don't think the creative writing industry has helped American poetry.
I learned to impersonate the kind of person that talks about poetry. It comes from teaching, I think.
Philip Larkin has a tough honesty and sense of humor that I find irresistible, as a contemporary poet.
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