Monday, February 27, 2012


Dear Mary,

“Every Morning” captures me absorbing the “craziness we have so far no name for.” For twenty years, “the sheets of white paper have / passed under my hand and I have tried / to improve their peaceful / emptiness” – leaving me twenty to go to reach my own forty years. Can we want more from a poem than to read it and feel understood?

As a writer, too, I’m nourished by your words. That you revise through forty or fifty drafts before you “begin to feel content” helps allow me to accept the failures of my own early drafts, and to revise again and again. Your advice about solitude is as true of a novel as it is of a poem: “For the poem … is created through work in which the interweavings of craft, thought, and feeling are intricate, mysterious, and altogether ‘mortal.’ Interrupt—and the whole structure can collapse.” It’s a hard thing to claim time for oneself and one’s work, and a blessing to be told I not only can claim it, but must.

“Out of pain,
and pain, and more pain
we feed this feverish plot”

I hope, in your illness, you will be “nourished by the mystery” with which you have nourished us.

With warmest regards,
Meg Waite Clayton

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.