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I was very committed to the process of composing, working at poems, putting things together and taking them apart like some kind of experimental filmmaker.
I was trying to find out what it was that everybody else understood without giving up my stubborn and hard-won lack of understanding.
I wanted to be an inventor, whatever I thought that meant then. I guess I was thinking of Edison or maybe James Watt. Or maybe even Newton.
I tended to emphasize the secular, the casual, the colloquial, the vernacular against the sacred.
I reserve the right to tell shaggy dog stories or even common jokes as part of what I'm doing. I don't give a damn if half the audience walks out.
I learned enough Hebrew to stagger through a meaningless ceremony that I scarcely remember.
I have spoken to expert audiences occasionally, but then no audience is expert over the whole range of things I want to explore.
I hardly remember how I started to write poetry. It's hard to imagine what I thought poetry could do.
I had no idea where these kids at a small private college in the San Fernando Valley were coming from, why they were coming to hear me, or what they needed to know.
I didn't think about whether I was writing poems. I was thinking. And the more I was thinking, the more there was I didn't understand.
I can manage a prose format as long as I keep closer to Laurence Sterne than to Henry James.
I am quite unsatisfied by the distinctions between the oral and literate.
From this entertainment industry, may the gods of language protect us.
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