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I remain loyal to Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert in music and to Shakespeare and Jane Austen in literature.
I play with language a great deal in my poems, and I enjoy that. I try to condense language, that is, I try to express complicated but I hope real emotions as simply as possible. But that doesn't mean the poems are simple, just that they are as truthful as I can make them.
I married a young Englishman in Cambridge in 1955 and have lived in Britain every since.
I like rhyme because it is memorable, I like form because having to work to a pattern gives me original ideas.
I have always made my own rules, in poetry as in life - though I have tried of late to cooperate more with my family. I do, however, believe that without order or pattern poetry is useless.
I don't like poetry that just slaps violent words on a canvas, as it were.
I dislike literary jargon and never use it. Criticism has only one function and that is to help readers read and understand literature. It is not a science, it is an aid to art.
I did know Ted Hughes and I partly wrote the book to explain to myself and others the complexities of a marriage that was for six years wonderfully productive of poetry and then ended in tragedy.
I am now seventy, rather glad, really, that I won't live to see the horrors to come in the 21st century.
Each word bears its weight, so you have to read my poems quite slowly.
Blake has always been a favorite, the lyrics, not so much the prophetic books, but I suppose Yeats influenced me more as a young poet, and the American, Robert Frost.
A poem might be defined as thinking about feelings - about human feelings and frailties.
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