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There's a certain point, when you're writing autobiographical stuff, where you don't want to misrepresent yourself. It would be dishonest.


I think the best American poetry is the poetry that utilizes the resources of poetry rather than exploits the defects or triumphs of the poet's personality.


And yet, in a culture like ours, which is given to material comforts, and addicted to forms of entertainment that offer immediate gratification, it is surprising that so much poetry is written.


I believe that all poetry is formal in that it exists within limits, limits that are either inherited by tradition or limits that language itself imposes.


It hardly seems worthwhile to point out the shortsightedness of those practitioners who would have us believe that the form of the poem is merely its shape.


I certainly can't speak for all cultures or all societies, but it's clear that in America, poetry serves a very marginal purpose. It's not part of the cultural mainstream.


And Robert Lowell, of course - in his poems, we're not located in his actual life. We're located more in the externals, in the journalistic facts of his life.




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