Quotation fun – Are poets introverts or extroverts?

In the Winter 2006 issue of Rattle, Alan Fox (editor-in-chief) interviews Jane Hirshfield.

Jane Hirshfield wrote:
I think two kinds of people become poets. Extroverts who go out and entertain the family friends, and introverts who hide in the bedroom and put what they write under the mattress. Allen Ginsberg, I imagine, was the first kind; I was the second. For me, words were not about pleasing or entertaining others but about creating a place of refuge, where I could find something out about what it means to have and be a self.

Which are you, introvert or extrovert? Although I enjoy a good conversation once in a while, I know I am an introvert. I appreciate silence.

Do you think a great poet must be either an introvert, or an extrovert? Of course, I’m inclined to think that the truly excellent poets are introverts, if only because they have the time to themselves to work on their poems. However, one could argue that the extroverts are the poets with more life experience, and thus, more important things to say.

Are any poets you know of both introverted and extroverted?

If you’d like see what others have said about this, go here.

4 thoughts on “Quotation fun – Are poets introverts or extroverts?

  1. I like that you include background information in your posts. My poetry could also be termed a “place of refuge”: my own world to pen the most private emotions or express my opinions. I think a great poet needs to be introspective, contemplative, and pen a unique grasp of language, whether in the formal or informal sense. Introspection is different than needing to be an introvert so one’s personality is not a prerequisite for one’s poetic abilities. This was interesting to think about.

  2. gel, thanks for reading. I stumble across intriguing thoughts as I read, and now and then like to post the quotation. It’s interesting to see what others think. I think your take on the question is valid: I hadn’t thought of it quite that way. Introspection is needed, not an introverted personality.

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