When I first heard Wallace Stevens' voice, it was by chance: a friend wanted to listen to the recording he had made for the Harvard Vocarium Series.
I liked teaching Henry James. When you look down at a Henry James novel from a helicopter height, you find an intricate spider web that all clings together.
I think that a lot of things are hard to read if you're not in the vocabulary flow of that particular discourse. I sometimes forget that even though the words I'm using are fairly ordinary words, the concepts around which they cluster, which are the long concepts of literary tradition, may not be familiar to an audience.
I was unnerved to learn in my twenties that the poems of Emily Dickinson that I had memorized as a girl were not the poems as she had written them.
I like art history and art criticism. Leo Steinberg has always been my favorite. He's very original, very accurate and acute.
Twentieth-century American poetry has been one of the glories of modern literature.
I would like to spend more time with Spanish poetry. I know French better than Spanish, but Spanish was my first language, and my father spoke it to us.
I believe that poems are a score for performance by the reader, and that you become the speaking voice. You don't read or overhear the voice in the poem – you are the voice in the poem.
I wouldn't be very happy if a poet read what I had written and said, 'What a peculiar thing to say about this work of mine.'
The art of utterance persuades initially by its music and its rhythm, before semiotic or personal characteristics come into play.
If you like the precision and concision of poetry, a page of prose is unsatisfying in a certain way. And poetry is so direct.
I always write after I think for quite a long time, so the actual writing time is rather short. I think a lot of the work gets done when you have something on your mind while you're doing many other things.