INTERVIEWER: "All I have is a voice," Auden wrote in "September 1, 1939," "To undo the folded lie." Of course he then later disowned this poem . . . But it seems to me your poems are often motivated by the desire to "undo folded lies," or at least to expose the various complexities that politicians and pundits attempt to disguise from us.
SIMIC: Let's hope so. Poetry in my view is a defense of the individual against all the forces arrayed against him. Every religion, every ideology and orthodoxy of thought and manner wants to reeducate him and make him into something else. To sing from the same sheet is the ideal. A true patriot doesn’t think for himself, they’ll tell you. I realize that there’s a long tradition in poetry of not speaking truth to power and, in fact, of being its groveling apologist. I just don’t have it in me.