A lasting marriage, they say, is one where the two reach for different sections of the Sunday paper. Me, I go right for the obituaries, just like those very elderly characters in Muriel Spark's spooky novel, 'Memento Mori.'
Emily Dickinson never developed. She remained loyal to her persona and to that same little metrical song that stood her in such good stead. She is a striking example of complexity within a simple package. Her rhymes are like bows on the package.
Poetry is my cheap means of transportation. By the end of the poem the reader should be in a different place from where he started. I would like him to be slightly disoriented at the end, like I drove him outside of town at night and dropped him off in a cornfield.
I'm not a claustrophobe, but you don't need to be to feel claustrophobic inside an MRI. It's like being buried alive.
I'm happy to stick with my persona. There are themes of love lost and love regained, but the main themes of all poems are basically love and death, and that seems to be the message of poetry.
When I became poet laureate, I was in a slightly uncomfortable position because I think a lot of poetry isn't worth reading.
When I discovered the lyric poem, that advanced not by narrative steps but by blocks and layers of imagery, I said, 'Gee, I probably could do that. So let me try that.'
The first line is the DNA of the poem; the rest of the poem is constructed out of that first line. A lot of it has to do with tone because tone is the key signature for the poem. The basis of trust for a reader used to be meter and end-rhyme.
Very few people have actually read Freud, but everyone seems prepared to talk about him in that Woody Allen way. To read Freud is not as much fun.
It's an important social duty to spread the word of English to people whose livelihoods depend on knowing the language.
I really have a distaste for poets who announce themselves at 50 yards; you know, here he comes, you know, with the beret and the cane and the cape and the whatever - whatever mishegas is part of the outfit there.
I'm pretty much all for poetry in public places - poetry on buses, poetry on subways, on billboards, on cereal boxes.
I think what gets a poem going is an initiating line. Sometimes a first line will occur, and it goes nowhere; but other times - and this, I think, is a sense you develop - I can tell that the line wants to continue. If it does, I can feel a sense of momentum - the poem finds a reason for continuing.
I don't want to sound like an aesthete, but one has to be true to the art. And that means being true to the tradition of the art but also being true to your own artistic vision.
I'm an only child, and I can take all the attention you manage to pile on me.
People think of poetry as a school subject... Poetry is very frustrating to students because they don't have a taste for ambiguity, for one thing. That gives them a poetry hangover.
Often people, when they're confronted with a poem, it's like someone who keep saying 'what is the meaning of this? What is the meaning of this?' And that dulls us to the other pleasures poetry offers.
The poem is not, as someone put it, deflective of entry. But the real question is, 'What happens to the reader once he or she gets inside the poem?' That's the real question for me, is getting the reader into the poem and then taking the reader somewhere, because I think of poetry as a kind of form of travel writing.
There are interesting forms of difficulty, and there are unprofitable forms of difficulty. I mean, I enjoy some difficult poetry, but some of it is impenetrable and I actually wouldn't want to penetrate it if I could, perhaps.
I learned snails don't have ears. They live in silence. They go slowly. Slowly, slowly in silence.