"It is not possible, for a poet, writing in any language, to protect himself from the tragic elements in human life.... [ellipsis in source] Illness, old age, and death--subjects as ancient as humanity--these are the subjects that the poet must speak of very nearly from the first moment that he begins to speak."
"Logic, reason, disease, and the menace of death, these things meant nothing at all to us. We were committed to other values by which the poet has always lived in defiance of all that society demanded of him."
"A poet is a combination of an instrument and a human being in one person, with the former gradually taking over the latter. The sensation of this takeover is responsible for timbre; the realization of it, for destiny."
"My verse forms are relatively traditional (traditions alter). In general they have moved away from strict classical patterns in the direction of greater freedom--as is usual with most artists learning a trade. It takes courage, however, to leave all props behind, to cast oneself, like Matisse, upon pure space. I still await that confidence."
"An editor once said to me, "If I didn't know that you, a woman, had written these poems, I would like your work." And once an editor wrote me, "Your poems are dynamic, colorful, exciting, but too strong for a woman."
"Since I know nothing of the merits of poetry, I am not able to pass any opinion upon this, but I can see that "reap" and "deep," "prayers" and "bears," "ark" and "dark," "true" and "grew" do rhyme, and so I suppose it is a splendid effort, but if you had written it in plain prose, I could have understood it a great deal better and read it a great deal more easily."
"Poetry, whose material is language, is perhaps the most human and least worldly of the arts, the one in which the end product remains closest to the thought that inspired it.... Of all things of thought, poetry is the closest to thought, and a poem is less a thing than any other work of art ..."
"Written poetry is worth reading once, and then should be destroyed. Let the dead poets make way for others. Then we might even come to see that it is our veneration for what has already been created, however beautiful and valid it may be, that petrifies us."