There is this tendency to think that if you could only find the magic way, then you could become a poet. "Tell me how to become a poet. Tell me what to do." . . . What makes you a poet is a gift for language, an ability to see into the heart of things, and an ability to deal with important unconscious material. When all these things come together, you're a poet. But there isn't one little gimmick that makes you a poet. There isn't any formula for it.
we need poetry most at those moments when life astounds us with losses, gains, or celebrations. We need it most when we are most hurt, most happy, most downcast, most jubilant. Poetry is the language we speak in times of greatest need. And the fact that it is an endangered species in our culture tells us that we are in deep trouble.
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Growing up female in America. What a liability! You grew up with your ears full of cosmetic ads, love songs, advice columns, whoreoscopes, Hollywood gossip, and moral dilemmas on the level of TV soap operas. What litanies the advertisers of the good life chanted at you! What curious catechisms!
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No one to blame! That was why most people led lives they hated, with people they hated. How wonderful to have someone to blame! How wonderful to live with one's nemesis! You may be miserable, but you feel forever in the right. You may be fragmented, but you feel absolved of all the blame for it. Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.
I hope we don't have to keep going back over the same territory and winning the same rights over and over again. The battle for birth control. The battle for abortion. The parity of women's health. It's very depressing to think that you win these rights, but then you have to win them again, and again, and again, and fight the same battles over and over.
Throughout much of history, women writers have capitulated to male standards, and have paid too much heed to what Virginia Woolf calls "the angel in the house." She is that little ghost who sits on one's shoulder while one writes and whispers, "Be nice, don't say anything that will embarrass the family, don't say anything your man will disapprove of ..." [ellipsis in original] The "angel in the house" castrates one's creativity because it deprives one of essential honesty, and many women writers have yet to win the freedom to be honest with themselves.
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