This high companionship of self-indulgence is hugely underrated in modern teaching. It needs to be taught again. Poetry, the best poetry, the most purposeful poetry, arises out of the fullness of the self. It is not the result of a given program, an agenda, a canon. The dynamic noise of a poetry workshop, its communal imperative, does compel young poets to be clear rather than complex, to be social rather than desolate. But the best education in the poetic art must oscillate between the two—between the need to dream fiercely and the need to communicate. Our personal temperament is an essential part of our technical equipment as poets: it is the one part of our equipment that we cannot teach to others, though many of us yearn to do so as we grow older. Our temperament is the thing that will die with us, leaving traces only in the best work.

Thomas McCarthy, “Poetry and the Memory of Fame”