How can a young poet know if his work is really worthwhile?
You never know that. I don't know it; Robert Lowell doesn't know it; John
Berryman didn't know it; and Shakespeare probably didn't know it. There's never
any final certainty about what you do. Your opinion of your own work fluctuates
wildly. Under the right circumstances you can pick up something that you've
written and approve of it; you'll think it's good and that nobody could have
done exactly the same thing. Under different circumstances, you'll look at
exactly the same poem and say, â€œMy Lord, isn't that boring.â€ The most
important thing is to be excited about what you are doing and to be working on
something that you think will be the greatest thing that ever was. One of the
difficulties in writing poetry is to maintain your sense of excitement and
discovery about what you write.