Born Thursday 18 February 1926, died Sunday 25 February 2001
Besides the actual reading in class of many poems, I would suggest you do two things: first, while teaching everything you can and keeping free of it, teach that poetry is a mode of discourse that differs from logical exposition.
Even if you walk exactly the same route each time - as with a sonnet - the events along the route cannot be imagined to be the same from day to day, as the poet's health, sight, his anticipations, moods, fears, thoughts cannot be the same.
I must stress here the point that I appreciate clarity, order, meaning, structure, rationality: they are necessary to whatever provisional stability we have, and they can be the agents of gradual and successful change.
That's a wonderful change that's taken place, and so most poetry today is published, if not directly by the person, certainly by the enterprise of the poet himself, working with his friends.
The poet exposes himself to the risk. All that has been said about poetry, all that he has learned about poetry, is only a partial assurance.
Poetry leads us to the unstructured sources of our beings, to the unknown, and returns us to our rational, structured selves refreshed.
If a poem is each time new, then it is necessarily an act of discovery, a chance taken, a chance that may lead to fulfillment or disaster.
Each poem in becoming generates the laws by which it is generated: extensions of the laws to other poems never completely take.
Definition, rationality, and structure are ways of seeing, but they become prisons when they blank out other ways of seeing.
For though we often need to be restored to the small, concrete, limited, and certain, we as often need to be reminded of the large, vague, unlimited, unknown.
Anything looked at closely becomes wonderful.
Once every five hundred years or so, a summary statement about poetry comes along that we can't imagine ourselves living without.
I am grateful for - though I can't keep up with - the flood of articles, theses, and textbooks that mean to share insight concerning the nature of poetry.
Probably all the attention to poetry results in some value, though the attention is more often directed to lesser than to greater values.
I take the walk to be the externalization of an interior seeking so that the analogy is first of all between the external and the internal.
In nature there are few sharp lines.
A poem generated by its own laws may be unrealized and bad in terms of so-called objective principles of taste, judgement, deduction.
Questions structure and, so, to some extent predetermine answers.
Everything is discursive opinion instead of direct experience.
If the greatest god is the stillness all the motions add up to, then we must ineluctably be included.