The question ‘Why poetry?’ isn’t asking what makes poetry unique among art forms; poetry may indeed share its origins with other forms of privileged utterance. A somewhat more interesting question would be: “What is the nature of experience, and especially the experience of using language, that calls poetic utterance into existence? What is there about experience that’s unutterable?” You can’t generalize very usefully about poetry; you can’t reduce its nature down to a kernel that underlies all its various incarnations. I guess my internal conversation suggests that if you can’t successfully answer the question of “Why poetry?,” can’t reduce it in the way I think you can’t, then maybe that’s the strongest evidence that poetry’s doing its job; it’s creating an essential need and then satisfying it.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again.
It is no loss to mankind when one writer decides to call it a day. When a tree falls in the forest, who cares but the monkeys?
And I think that in myself (and perhaps evident in what I write) fear of loss and the corresponding instinct to protect myself against loss are potent forces.
I had written all I was going to write, if the truth had been known, and there is nothing wrong with that. If more writers knew that, the world would be saved a lot of bad books, and more people--men and women alike--could go on to happier, more productive lives.
Then, what's the matter?' I wonder, in fact, how many times I have said that or something equal to it to a woman passing palely through my life. What're you thinking? What's made you so quiet? You seem suddenly different. What's the matter? Love me is what this means, of course. Or at least, second best: surrender. Or at the very least, take some time regaling me with why you won't, and maybe by the end you will.
Real mystery - the very reason to read (and certainly write) any book - was to them a thing to dismantle, distill and mine out into rubble they could tyrannize into sorry but more permanent explanations; monuments to themselves, in other words. In my view all teachers should be required to stop teaching at age thirty-two and not allowed to resume until they're sixty-five, so that they can live their lives, not teach them away - live lives full of ambiguity and transience and regret and wonder, be asked to explain nothing in public until very near the end when they can't do anything else. Explaining is where we all get into trouble.
Married life requires shared mystery even when all the facts are known.
I decided early on that I wanted to participate in the greater American experience, rather than the parochial one in Mississippi. But I have an urge as a writer to meld the Southern experience into the larger American one.
In order to write novels for a living - it's not pathological, but I do think and worry and brood and fidget about stuff that I'm working on.
Well, I believe in the idea of 'normal' in the way that I believe in the idea of logic. Or the idea of character. All of these ethical constructs are just that: constructs.
I haven't scoured Dixie out of my voice. But I don't think that the books that I have written... have really in any way been Southern in character.
That said, being dyslexic, I wasn't a great reader when I was kid.
I'm an equal opportunity reader - although I don't much read plays. And since I was raised a Presbyterian, pretty much all pleasures are guilty.
My father died in my arms. That's tumult. That's everything exploding.
For a writer, children make life needlessly hard. I've muddled through a lot of things, but I have not muddled through my writing life. I work absolutely flat out, giving it my all.
The art of living your life has a lot to do with getting over loss. The less the past haunts you, the better.