On Poetry

When someone asks me how long it took me to write a particular poem, I ask what is the date indicated below the poem. And even if I used up only minutes to commit the words to paper, I add the life I've lived to the point of writing and give that as my answer.

I say that my poems of ten years ago are very different from the ones I write today. The work I do tomorrow will be miles apart from that done yesterday. My feelings when I wrote a particular poem may not be the same feelings that I feel today.

But I have to warn you... you cannot judge my poem. My poetry cannot be judged against those poets who have gone before me or even my contemporaries. Because I am the poem. The poem is me. No one can judge what I felt. No one can safely tell me what my poems should be or should have been, because I lived in them... they are my feelings and my experiences and must stand as such. 

If you read a poem of mine and identify with it, then the poem becomes your experience. You will live it your own way - read into it something I probably never meant to say. That's how it should be. 

Unless I tell you what a poem of mine really means, you cannot judge it.