"A poem has secrets that the poet knows nothing of. It takes on a life and a will of its own"
"The poet is not in the service of the state. On the contrary he defends the solitary conscience as opposed to the great power structure of the superstate."
Kunitz was a lifelong political progressive and pacifist. He was a conscientious objector during WW2 and opposed both the Vietnam and the US-led invasion of Iraq. He declined to write a poem in honor of the inauguration of George Bush.
He reminded people:
"A poet is also a citizen, and I try not to forget that"
Kunitz wrote poetry slowly, often at night, on an old manual typewriter. The secret of a long life, he claimed, was curiosity.
An interview with Stanley Kunitz is here and a long evocative article about Stanley Kunitz from the New Yorker magazine is here.