Posts in Letters
Trust What You Love

"Ritualistic utterances, therefore, whether made up of words that have symbolic significance at other times, of words in foreign or obsolete tongues, or of meaningless syllables, may be regarded as consisting in large part of presymbolic uses of language: that is, accustomed sets of noises which convey no information, but to which feelings (in this case group feelings) are attached."

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Hold Fast to the Promise

"Charles believed intensely that no one of them could have played so consistently urgent a role without the warm affection and steadfast support and devotion of the others. The intensity of their feelings could properly be called love. They had fought for each other, valiantly, sometimes when it was not merely inconvenient but dangerous. Yet never did they fight each other, indulge in jealousy, envy or spite. There was not a destructive bone in their corporate body."

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On Poetic Faith

"The very notion that you are sustained at each moment by an infinite plenitude of all that is contingent means that this life you call yours has value behind finite conceiving; it means that every other life is subject to the same terms of wonder. This is real; this is really happening. I am here by amazing grace and marrow music. The same mind that brought you to nothingness teems with sublime community."

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Aubade for America

Poetry is so important because of the quality of space it activates when it is shared—a deep, sometimes terrifyingly vast field of meanings real, perfect, possible, and indeterminate. This depth and its quality speaks at once to the simultaneous revelation of the apparent and the hidden, what Stéphane Mallarmé might call a "pure notion"...

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The Poetry of W. Scott Howard

Working with Scott has been nothing short of a course in illumination; his every gesture informs a larger vision, a sort of mythological treatment of meaning that honors the tools of the trade. Scott channels his personal integrity into the work, making for a crystalline concept, and the subsequent structural integrity makes it possible for us to observe the finer details of reality.

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De Profundis (what are you willing to do?)

How do you know if you are capable of what you feel — really feel — like doing? I can hear someone saying: "Some people just know." And what that means to me, in this moment, is that people find ways to be at home in the uncertain terrain of any endeavor. There is no guarantee that anything you do will succeed. What is success? Fruition? Export? Completion? What is completion? When is something done? Is "done" even possible? What is possible? We're back at the beginning.

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The Yawning Void

But it seems we have the choice, at least — we can choose from our ways and means, however limited, however frail. Dylan Thomas's famous villanelle ("Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night") is a perfect and perfectly moving example of the choice — how to act upon the feeling — and the spirit behind it. But it is Maya Angelou's "When Great Trees Fall" that puts me, personally, back to work, in spite of (or at home with) the dying trees, the disappearing wilderness, the yawning void.

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