The challenge is to keep up with all the new poets at the same time I love the old ones.
I'd rather write about polar bears than people.
Poetry isn't a profession, it's a way of life. It's an empty basket; you put your life into it and make something out of that.
It's very important to write things down instantly, or you can lose the way you were thinking out a line. I have a rule that if I wake up at 3 in the morning and think of something, I write it down. I can't wait until morning - it'll be gone.
Walks work for me. I enter some arena that is neither conscious or unconscious.
I think one thing is that prayer has become more useful, interesting, fruitful, and... almost involuntary in my life.
You have to be in the world to understand what the spiritual is about, and you have to be spiritual in order to truly be able to accept what the world is about.
When it's over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement. I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
I would rather write poems than prose, any day, any place. Yet each has its own force.
I went to India and was quite taken with it. There's a feeling there that things are holy first and useful second.
You can fool a lot of yourself but you can't fool the soul.
I've always wanted to write poems and nothing else.
If I've done my work well, I vanish completely from the scene. I believe it is invasive of the work when you know too much about the writer.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
There were times over the years when life was not easy, but if you're working a few hours a day and you've got a good book to read, and you can go outside to the beach and dig for clams, you're okay.
I know the sag of the unfinished poem. And I know the release of the poem that is finished.
Instead of taking the reader by the hand and running him down the hill, I want to lead him into a house of many rooms, and leave him alone in each of them.
Almost anything is too much. I am trying in my poems to have the reader be the experiencer. I do not want to be there. It is not even a walk we take together.
I love the line of Flaubert about observing things very intensely. I think our duty as writers begins not with our own feelings, but with the powers of observing.
I worked privately, and sometimes I feel that might be better for poets than the kind of social workshop gathering. My school was the great poets: I read, and I read, and I read.
Believe me, if anybody has a job and starts at 9, there's no reason why they can't get up at 4:30 or five and write for a couple of hours, and give their employers their second-best effort of the day - which is what I did.
Poetry is meant to be heard.
I have a notion that if you are going to be spiritually curious, you better not get cluttered up with too many material things.
Writers sometimes give up what is most strange and wonderful about their writing - soften their roughest edges - to accommodate themselves toward a group response.
Because of the dog's joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born.
I worked probably 25 years by myself, just writing and working, not trying to publish much, not giving readings.
Poetry is one of the ancient arts, and it began as did all the fine arts, within the original wilderness of the earth.
I have a notebook with me all the time, and I begin scribbling a few words. When things are going well, the walk does not get anywhere; I finally just stop and write.
The woods that I loved as a child are entirely gone. The woods that I loved as a young adult are gone. The woods that most recently I walked in are not gone, but they're full of bicycle trails.
In college, you learn how to learn. Four years is not too much time to spend at that.
Writers must... take care of the sensibility that houses the possibility of poems.
There is nothing better than work. Work is also play; children know that. Children play earnestly as if it were work. But people grow up, and they work with a sorrow upon them. It's duty.
I believe art is utterly important. It is one of the things that could save us.
Sometimes breaking the rules is extending the rules.
I was very careful never to take an interesting job. If you have an interesting job, you get interested in it.
At the time I was growing up, literature was involved with the so-called confessional poets. And I was not interested in that. I did not think that specific and personal perspective functioned well for the reader at all.
Wasn't it Emerson who said, 'My life is for itself and not for a spectacle'? I have a happy, full, good life because I hold it private.
We all have a hungry heart, and one of the things we hunger for is happiness. So as much as I possibly could, I stayed where I was happy.
People want poetry. They need poetry. They get it. They don't want fancy work.
I like books that are fat and full.
To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.
Apparently, I've been considered a recluse.
As a child, what captivated me was reading the poems myself and realizing that there was a world without material substance which was nevertheless as alive as any other.
My first two books are out of print and, okay, they can sleep there comfortably. It's early work, derivative work.
My parents didn't care very much what I did, and that was probably a blessing.
I'm going to die one day. I know it's coming for me, too. I'll be a mountain, I'll be a stone on the beach. I'll be nourishment.
Words have not only a definition... but also the felt quality of their own kind of sound.
So this is how you swim inward. So this is how you flow outwards. So this is how you pray.
I had a very dysfunctional family, and a very hard childhood. So I made a world out of words. And it was my salvation.
I always feel that whatever isn't necessary shouldn't be in a poem.