Being a poet is twenty-four hours a day, and the nice thing about it is that it doesn’t need to interfere with you being a person. But it is twenty-four hours a day. You mustn’t complicate your life with things like psychodramas, nervous breakdowns, and things like that, if you’re trying to be a poet. You can have all those things, but you shouldn’t let them get in the way of yourself being a poet, and poets don’t let those things get in the way. A poet might die of hideous drink and horrible diseases when they’re forty or thirty-five, but that would have happened to them anyway, because that’s what they were like. Nevertheless, they wrote a lot of good poems, which made their lives a lot better than they would have been if they’d just been this boring person that died of hideous drink and – you know.
Actually, everybody that doesn’t write poetry is pretty boring. It’s true. [Chogyam] Trungpa writes poetry, and Allen [Ginsberg] writes poetry, and neither one of those guys is boring to me all the time. My mother writes poetry. Her poetry is pretty boring, but she’s not boring.
- Ted Berrigan, from a workshop he conducted in 1978 (5 years before is own premature, drug-related death), as found in Civil Disobediences: Poetics and Politics in Action.