I learned to impersonate the kind of person that talks about poetry. It comes from teaching, I think.
I think that it's more likely that in my 60s and 70s I will be writing poetry rather than fiction.
If a poem is not memorable, there's probably something wrong. One of the problems of free verse is that much of the free verse poetry is not memorable.
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.
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.
Pound's translation of Chinese poetry was maybe the most important thing I read. Eliot a little bit later.
Teaching writing over the years intrudes on your own writing in important ways, taking away some of the excitement of poetry.
The decision to write in prose instead of poetry is made more by the readers than by writers. Almost no one is interested in reading narrative in verse.
The fact that something is in a rhymed form or in blank verse will not make it good poetry.
The great watershed of modern poetry is French, more than English.
What actually makes poetry poetry is of course impossible to define. We recognize it when we hear it, when we see it, but we can't define it.
You have to really dive deep back into yourself and get rid of so much modern analytical categorization. It's one of the great things poetry does.
In the late 60s and early 70s, I did get interested in voices, and in narration and embodying the voice, making the poem sound like a real person talking.
Maybe the example of Southern fiction writing has been so powerful that Southern poets have sort of keyed themselves to that.
Philip Larkin has a tough honesty and sense of humor that I find irresistible, as a contemporary poet.