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I tell students they will know they are getting somewhere when a scene is so painful they can just barely bring themselves to write about it. A writer has to draw blood.
I seem to keep returning to my father in poems because his personality was so extreme, so driven. He did everything to excess. I seem to keep returning to my father in poems because his personality was so extreme, so driven. He did everything to excess.
I love to create interesting textures with language. You can do it as long as it seems like a discovery.
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.
I learned to impersonate the kind of person that talks about poetry. It comes from teaching, I think.
I have taught students from the New York City area so long I have a special affinity and rapport with them. It surprises me sometimes that there are students from anywhere else.
I encourage students to pursue an idea far enough so they can see what the cliches and stereotypes are. Only then do they begin to hit pay dirt.
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.
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 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.
I considered going to film school; I took a course in film and was very interested in filmmaking as well as film writing.
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