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My earlier poems were sadder than my poems are today, perhaps because I wrote them in confusion or when I was unhappy. But I am not a melancholy person, quite the contrary, no one enjoys laughing more than I do.
I'm not really quiet or shy. Ask any of my friends! But I always ground my poetry in life itself. Poetry is an art of language, though, so I am always aware of every word's meaning, or multiple meanings.
I write, or used to write, to explain to myself situations I couldn't otherwise solve or understand. Meditation comes very naturally to me.
I work very hard on all my poems, but most of the work consists of trying not to sound as if I had worked. I try to make them sound as natural as possible, but within a quite strict form, which to my ears has a lot to do with musical rhythm and sound.
I think a poet, like a painter, should be a craftsperson.
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.
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