A poem might be defined as thinking about feelings - about human feelings and frailties.
I am now seventy, rather glad, really, that I won't live to see the horrors to come in the 21st century.
I write, or used to write, to explain to myself situations I couldn't otherwise solve or understand. Meditation comes very naturally to me.
Each word bears its weight, so you have to read my poems quite slowly.
Peter Lucas and I live in Durham but spend a great of time in North Wales, where we have a cottage in the mountains, and in Vermont, USA, with my sister - who is a children's writer married to a poet.
There is far too much literary criticism of the wrong kind. That is why I never could have survived as an academic.
I remain loyal to Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert in music and to Shakespeare and Jane Austen in literature.
Yes, I do often write poems from the mind, but I hope I don't ignore feelings and emotions.
I dislike literary jargon and never use it. Criticism has only one function and that is to help readers read and understand literature. It is not a science, it is an aid to art.
I like rhyme because it is memorable, I like form because having to work to a pattern gives me original ideas.
My earlier poems were sadder than my poems are today, perhaps because I wrote them in confusion or when I was unhappy. But I am not a melancholy person, quite the contrary, no one enjoys laughing more than I do.
I married a young Englishman in Cambridge in 1955 and have lived in Britain every since.
Poets should ignore most criticism and get on with making poetry.
Sylvia Plath was just a month and a half older than I, and when she committed suicide I was only 30 - and very shocked and sorry. I never knew her personally.
I play with language a great deal in my poems, and I enjoy that. I try to condense language, that is, I try to express complicated but I hope real emotions as simply as possible. But that doesn't mean the poems are simple, just that they are as truthful as I can make them.
For un-subscribe please check the mail footer.