| All those authors there, most of whom of course I've never met. That's the poetry side, that's the prose side, that's the fishing and miscellaneous behind me. You get an affection for books that you've enjoyed.
| I don't think of myself all the time.
| When I was a teacher, teachers would come into my classroom and admire my desk on which lay nothing whatever, whereas theirs were heaped with papers and books.
| But you'd have a job to find many of my poems which would seem to be very influenced by a particular person.
| I don't care whether a book is a first edition or not. I'm not a bibliophile in that word's natural sense.
| I only keep books that I like very much. Otherwise I'd throw them out.
| A terrible thing about getting oldish is that your friends start dying, and in the last ten years I have lost seven or eight of my closest.
| There are some friends you don't meet for twenty years and when you meet them again it's as if no twenty years has happened - you're lucky when that happens. I feel the same about books.
| I used to have a great love for Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, the big boys of the last century.
| I used to fish the Border rivers, but nowadays you have to queue up for a shot and I can't stand that.
| Well, I love fishing. I wouldn't kill a fly myself but I've no hesitation in killing a fish. A lot of men are like that. No bother. Out you come. Thump. And that's not the only reason.
| And some poets are far better read off the page because they're very bad speakers. I'm thinking of one in particular whom I won't name, a good poet, and he reads in such a dry, boring way, your eyes start drooping.
| If I wrote a play with four characters every single one of them would talk like me regardless of age or sex.
| I never think about poetry except when I'm writing it. I mean my poetry.
| And if they haven't got poetry in them, there's nothing you can do that will produce it.
| When I talk of hearing a poet's voice speaking, I always think of it as in the presence of the man.
| When I was asked to be Writer in Residence at Edinburgh I thought, you can't teach poetry. This is ridiculous.
| I was very interested in American poetry for many years. Much less now.
| Anybody who writes doesn't like to be misunderstood.
| All I write about is what's happened to me and to people I know, and the better I know them, the more likely they are to be written about.