What do you think should be the relationship between a poet and the society he or she lives in?

I used to dream about the bomb and I sometimes still dream about the bomb because the bomb hasn't gone away to fairy-land - it's still above our heads. So I react to these things. And I react to the fact that we've got an incredible number of poor people in this country, and throughout the world there are an awful lot of poor people, and there's a war between the rich and poor people, and so I take notice of these things. I try to write about everything. I write about nature, I write about dogs, I write about high art, I write about low art, I write about the people I love especially, and I write about politics and war, and peace. Peace most of all. But I can't tell anyone else what to do, and I wouldn't want to. Poetry is a free country, a really free country: you've never been in such a free country. And there's room for everybody. Well, just about, I mean I'd kick you out if I thought you were a racist. Or a fascist. Or you were trying to tell me what to write. No, don't let's do that to each other. When people ask me "can I do this in a poem?" I say "yes". I spend a lot of my time saying "yes". When I work with children, they say "Can I write about my dog?", "Can I write about my football team?" Yes. Yes yes yes yes. So I like to say yes. My poetry likes to say yes. And I'm sorry so much of my poetry says no, but so much of the world is poisoned and painful and dangerous, so I say no as well as yes.


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