I originally wanted to embrace the imagery and forthrightness of rap music. There are some interesting, dynamic voices in rap. But I find most of it irresponsible in its overt violence and commercialization of anger. As artists, we believe we can will action through language. If that's the case, we have to take responsibility for what we say.
Through the years I have seen myself as a peaceful person, but the awareness of the anger is part of that process.
I define poetry as celebration and confrontation. When we witness something, are we responsible for what we witness? That's an on-going existential question. Perhaps we are and perhaps there's a kind of daring, a kind of necessary energetic questioning. Because often I say it's not what we know, it's what we can risk discovering.
Poetry helps me understand who I am. It helps me understand the world around me. But above all, what poetry has taught me is the fact that I need to embrace mystery in order to be completely human.
Students often have such a lofty idea of what a poem is, and I want them to realize that their own lives are where the poetry comes from. The most important things are to respect the language: to know the classical rules, even if only to break them: and to be prepared to edit, to revise, to shape.
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