(an excerpt from my selected newspaper columns as poet laureate, to be published in autumn 2020 as Seen from All Angles: Lyric Everyday Life)

I have tried—with what I consider good reason—not to talk much about my own poetry in these columns I make an exception this month only because I also try to consider the themes and issues raised by my library visits in Vermont in a serious way. I must give spontaneous answers in my spoken responses; the column format may allow me to be both more elaborate and more precise.

Audience members often ask how poems come into being, and often inquire about “inspiration.” I’m a little leery of the term, only because I don’t want to give the impression that some Higher Authority is using me as his or her mouthpiece. In almost all respects, I’m just another bozo on the bus. But if you’ll indulge me, I’ll replicate a recent poem of mine and then say a word about it, and to that extent about poetry as I understand it, without for a moment claiming that my understanding is or should be a universal one.