I think a dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it.
A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it.
I'd spent way more years worrying about how to look like a poet -- buying black clothes, smearing on scarlet lipstick, languidly draping myself over thrift-store furniture -- than I had learning how to assemble words in some discernible order.
Such a small, pure object a poem could be, made of nothing but air a tiny string of letters, maybe small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. But it could blow everybody's head off.
Ten years, she's dead, and I still find myself some mornings reaching for the phone to call her. She could no more be gone than gravity or the moon.
it was dawning on me how uphill a poet's path was, and I confessed to her that if I had to be the choice between being happy or being a poet, I'd choose to be happy.
What hurts so bad about youth isn't the actual butt whippings the world delivers. It's the stupid hopes playacting like certainties.
Faith is not a feeling, she says. It's a set of actions. By taking the actions, you demonstrate more faith than somebody who actually has experienced the rewards of prayer and so feels hope.
Poetry privileges music and is aesthetically more challenging. Prose privileges information and is emotionally more challenging.
I think being tortured as a virtue is a kind of antiquated sense of what it is to be an artist. It comes out of that Symbolist idea, back to Rimbaud and all that disordering of the senses and all of that being some exalted state. When I've been that way, I've always been less exalted than I would have liked.
The emotional stakes a memoirist bets with could not be higher, and it's physically enervating. I nap on a daily basis like a cross-country trucker.
Young writers often mistakenly choose a certain vein or style based on who they want to be, unconsciously trying to blot out who they actually are. You want to escape yourself.
Age about 30, I stopped looking up my books in bookstores. Paying attention to the marketplace isn't a healthy thing for me.
People who didn't live pre-Internet can't grasp how devoid of ideas life in my hometown was. The only bookstores sold Bibles the size of coffee tables and dashboard Virgin Marys that glowed in the dark.
Poetry is for me Eucharistic. You take someone else's suffering into your body, their passion comes into your body, and in doing that you commune, you take communion, you make a community with others.
I tell people not to write too soon about their lives. Writing about yourself too young is loaded with psychological complexities.
I do have a really good memory. I mean, like, I can remember all the phone numbers of everybody on the street I grew up on.
I'm doomed to act like myself, even when it's inconvenient!
I believe in God, but even if you don't, you can believe in a self, the person who is innately who you are. Once you fully become that person, then everything you do will be blessed.
The audiobooks I buy are never first-time reads - only rereadings of books I know well that I find intoxicating.