A Note Life is the only way to get covered in leaves, catch your breath on the sand, rise on wings; to be a dog, or stroke its warm fur; to tell pain from everything it's not; to squeeze inside events, dawdle in views, to seek the least of all possible mistakes. An extraordinary chance to remember for a moment a conversation held with the lamp switched off; and if only once to stumble upon a stone, end up soaked in one downpour or another, mislay your keys in the grass; and to follow a spark on the wind with your eyes; and to keep on not knowing something important.
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I've had the good fortune to read a lot of great American writers in translation, and my absolute beloved, for me one of the greatest writers ever, is Mark Twain. Yes, yes, yes. And Whitman, from whom the whole of 20th-century poetry sprung up. Whitman was the origin of things, someone with a completely different outlook. But I think that he's the father of the new wave in the world's poetry which to this very day is hitting the shore.
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Most of the earth's inhabitants work to get by. They work because they have to. They didn't pick this or that kind of job out of passion; the circumstances of their lives did the choosing for them. Loveless work, boring work, work valued only because others haven't got even that much, however loveless and boring--this is one of the harshest human miseries. And there's no sign that coming centuries will produce any changes for the better as far as this goes.
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All the best have something in common, a regard for reality, an agreement to its primacy over the imagination. Even the richest, most surprising and wild imagination is not as rich, wild and surprising as reality. The task of the poet is to pick singular threads from this dense, colorful fabric.
I usually write for the individual reader -though I would like to have many such readers. There are some poets who write for people assembled in big rooms, so they can live through something collectively. I prefer my reader to take my poem and have a one-on-one relationship with it.
Poets, if they're genuine, must keep repeating "I don't know." Each poem marks an effort to answer this statement, but as soon as the final period hits the page, the poet begins to hesitate, starts to realize that this particular answer was pure makeshift that's absolutely inadequate to boot. So the poets keep on trying, and sooner or later the consecutive results of their self-dissatisfaction are clipped together with a giant paperclip by literary historians and called their oeuvre.
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Well, one is inspired by the whole of life, one's own and somebody else's. You know how sometimes you hear great music, and music is completely untranslatable into words, into any words. A certain tension that is born when one listens to music could aid you in expressing something absolutely different.
Inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists. There is, there has been, there will always be a certain group of people whom inspiration visits. It's made up of all those who've consciously chosen their calling and do their job with love and imagination...Difficulties and setbacks never quell their curiosity. A swarm of new questions emerges from every problem that they solve. Whatever inspiration is, it's born from a continuous 'I don't know.
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Four billion people on this earth, but my imagination is still the same. It's bad with large numbers. It's still taken by particularity. It flits in the dark like a flashlight, illuminating only random faces while all the rest go blindly by, never coming to mind and never really missed. . . . I can't tell you how much I pass over in silence.