Even discounting whatever financial aid is, which is often quite significant, the confidence that that kind of recognition gives, I think, is to me very-very important. The ego has to eat, it’s just one of those things we’re stuck with. And unless you want to spend pretty much your whole life time trying to get rid of the ego, then the major problem is to make sure that it doesn’t get monstrous. So, it gets monstrous if it’s fed too much, or if it’s not fed at all. And in our culture — our culture isn’t interested in poetry. I don’t really care about that, but it’s just the way it is.
So, this need for some kind of recognition, everybody needs a pat on the back, everybody needs to feel, at some moment, what they’re doing has got some shred of significance, that somebody out there hears. And that kind of support and acknowledgment, I think, can be very-very vital. Oddly I think poetry written in this country right now is incredibly alive. It’s very vital, there’s just an immense amount of poets who are doing vital and interesting work, which is strange, because basically they’re the only ones paying attention to it.
So, we have a vibrant subculture, but it’s a subculture that doesn’t have much money. It doesn’t have much to give away. So, whatever comes into it from outside sources is good, not only for the individual poet, but for all poets.1