No one can write like Vallejo and not sound like a fraud. He's just too much himself and not you.
I'm saying look, here they come, pay attention. Let your eyes transform what appears ordinary, commonplace, into what it is, a moment in time, an observed fragment of eternity.
Now I think poetry will save nothing from oblivion, but I keep writing about the ordinary because for me it's the home of the extraordinary, the only home.
It's ironic that while I was a worker in Detroit, which I left when I was twenty six, my sense was that the thing that's going to stop me from being a poet is the fact that I'm doing this crummy work.
I listen to jazz about three hours a day. I love Louis Armstrong.
My mother carried on and supported us; her ambition had been to write poetry and songs.
For sure I once thought of myself as the poet who would save the ordinary from oblivion.
I write what's given me to write.
If that voice that you created that is most alive in the poem isn't carried throughout the whole poem, then I destroy where it's not there, and I reconstruct it so that that voice is the dominant voice in the poem.
I'm afraid we live at the mercy of a power, maybe a God, without mercy. And yet we find it, as I have, from others.
There'll always be working people in my poems because I grew up with them, and I am a poet of memory.
I realized poetry's the thing that I can do 'cause I can stick at it and work with tremendous intensity.
The irony is, going to work every day became the subject of probably my best poetry.
Meet some people who care about poetry the way you do. You'll have that readership. Keep going until you know you're doing work that's worthy. And then see what happens. That's my advice.
My sense of a poem - my notion of how you revise - is: you get yourself into a state where what you are intensely conscious of is not why you wrote it or how you wrote it, but what you wrote.
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