I learned to impersonate the kind of person that talks about poetry. It comes from teaching I think.
Part of what we love about poetry is the fact that it seems ancient that it has an authority of ancient language and ancient form and that it's timeless that it reaches back.
What actually makes poetry poetry is of course impossible to define. We recognize it when we hear it when we see it but we can't define it.
The fact that something is in a rhymed form or in blank verse will not make it good poetry.
A poem in form still has to have voice gesture a sense of discovery a metaphoric connection as any poetry does.
One of the most powerful devices of poetry is the use of distortions. You can go from talking about the way a minute passes to the way a century passes or a lifetime.
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 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.
Some people swear by writing courses but whether it really helps American poetry I have doubts.
I don't think the creative writing industry has helped American poetry.
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.
Teaching writing over the years intrudes on your own writing in important ways taking away some of the excitement of poetry.
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.
Poetry almost by definition calls attention to its language and form.
The Language Poets are writing only about language itself. The Ashbery poets are writing only about poetry itself. That seems to me a kind of dead end.
Among the American contemporaries I read with most enjoyment are several North Carolinians. I think the best poetry being written these days is being written by Southerners.
The great watershed of modern poetry is French more than English.
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.
Pound's translation of Chinese poetry was maybe the most important thing I read. Eliot a little bit later.
I think that it's more likely that in my 60s and 70s I will be writing poetry rather than fiction.
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 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.
Philip Larkin has a tough honesty and sense of humor that I find irresistible as a contemporary poet.
In the later books I am much more at home in the use of language to describe things. I had never thought of that until a critic pointed that out.
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.