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The best books of our times have included the three mature volumes of Philip Larkin. They're very short books of poems, and very carefully arranged.
Teaching writing over the years intrudes on your own writing in important ways, taking away some of the excitement of poetry.
Southern poets are still writing narrative poems, poems in forms, dramatic poems.
Some people want to call me an Appalachian writer, even though I know some people use regional labels to belittle.
Some people swear by writing courses, but whether it really helps American poetry, I have doubts.
Pound's translation of Chinese poetry was maybe the most important thing I read. Eliot a little bit later.
Poetry, almost by definition, calls attention to its language and form.
Part of what we love about poetry is the fact that it seems ancient, that it has an authority of ancient language and ancient form, and that it's timeless, that it reaches back.
Our most famous writers are Faulkner and Eudora Welty and Flannery O'Connor. It would make sense that the poetry would reflect some of those same values, some of the same techniques.
One of the most powerful devices of poetry is the use of distortions. You can go from talking about the way a minute passes to the way a century passes, or a lifetime.
One of the most powerful devices is to distort time, to go from human time to atomic time, geologic time. Sometimes you can actually accomplish that, with one unexpected word choice.
One of the biggest changes that ever occurred in my life was going from the isolation of working part-time as a house painter in Henderson County, to Cornell, where everybody was a literary person.
Neither of my parents has been very sensitive about my writing.
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