Poetry, however, “is the most complicated thing.
It’s the most beautiful sport. I am always a student of poetry,
and in it I find a rest that I don’t find anywhere else,
whether writing my own or reading the masters.
And by rest I mean not quiescence or stop, but release.
What poetry does is put more oxygen into the atmosphere.
Poetry makes it easier to breathe.”

Actually, the way I write is to melt all the materials in my brain at once,
like those cyclotrons in which they get atomic matter really hot
and get it to do weird things.
I have so many things that I like to do at once, that I can’t do very long poems.
It’s hard to sustain.
And I seem to be able to say what I want to.
I’m very satisfied with short poems.”

On the Nature of Understanding

 Say you hoped to
tame something
wild and stayed
calm and inched up
day by day. Or even
not tame it but
meet it halfway.
Things went along.
You made progress,
it would be a
lengthy process,
sensing changes
in your hair and
nails. So it’s
strange when it
attacks: you thought
you had a deal

Words have loyalties
to so much
we don’t control.
Each word we write
rights itself
according to poles
we cant see; think of
magnetic compulsion
or an equal stringency.
Its hard for us
to imagine how small
a part we play in
holding up the tall
spires we believe
our minds erect.
Then north shifts,
buildings shear,
and we suspect.