Nonfiction

A Few Quotations

A dramatic necessity goes deep into the nature of the sentence. Sentences are not different enough to hold the attention unless they are dramatic. No ingenuity of varying structure will do. All that can save them is the speaking tone of voice somehow entangled in the words and fastened to the page for the ear…

On First Meeting W.H. Auden

"Chris? Is Wystan somewhere about?" I am twenty-two years old and never in the realm of fact or fancy have I heard five words more difficult to "take in." The cherub at the top of the stairs who has just uttered them turns away. His voice resounds in distant murmurs through the length of the…

Estivating (journal)

The reason I am keeping a journal this season of the hearings and the horses is to put down those "bits of the mind's string too short to use," as Joan Didion once said. Things tie themselves together with little quote marks and perhaps the string crosshatches itself into a statement in time, who knows?…

Protocol

I wanted to begin with perfectly simple things, things that were indivisible, safe from analysis. Without knowing it, I tried for years to write protocol sentences. My mistake was to think that such dregs, even had I reached them, were what I had to say, its "true" form, my "real" meaning. "John joy now." "John…

Reflections

I can remember writing Lie Down in Darkness in total belief, at the age of 23 to 26, that somehow. . .I was contributing my share to the human race – but in such organ-like tones. There was great music droning through my mind as I wrote it, and I think it's a pretty good…

Journal Excerpts

I Today the idea of writing poetry is generally an absurdity. Too many of us must come home from a day's routine labor before we can sit down to think and/or feel poetry within us. Flashes come and go during the working day and it is possible we see the world constantly through our poetic…