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My sense of a poem - my notion of how you revise - is: you get yourself into a state where what you are intensely conscious of is not why you wrote it or how you wrote it, but what you wrote.
My mother carried on and supported us; her ambition had been to write poetry and songs.
My father died when I was five, but I grew up in a strong family.
Meet some people who care about poetry the way you do. You'll have that readership. Keep going until you know you're doing work that's worthy. And then see what happens. That's my advice.
It's ironic that while I was a worker in Detroit, which I left when I was twenty six, my sense was that the thing that's going to stop me from being a poet is the fact that I'm doing this crummy work.
If that voice that you created that is most alive in the poem isn't carried throughout the whole poem, then I destroy where it's not there, and I reconstruct it so that that voice is the dominant voice in the poem.
I'm seventy-one now, so it's hard to imagine a dramatic change.
I'm saying look, here they come, pay attention. Let your eyes transform what appears ordinary, commonplace, into what it is, a moment in time, an observed fragment of eternity.
I'm afraid we live at the mercy of a power, maybe a God, without mercy. And yet we find it, as I have, from others.
I write what's given me to write.
I was very lucky to have a mother who encouraged me to become a poet.
I started listening to music when I wrote when I had three sons at home.
I realized poetry's the thing that I can do 'cause I can stick at it and work with tremendous intensity.
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