Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Poetry Friendship on Earth

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

Poetry Friendship on Earth

Article excerpt

He thinks I'm pretty good-a lot of the time.... But he has reservations. Something about my "looseness," something about "a tang of narcissism" . . . And he is my friend! My trusted friend. I mean he and I go back, we've had 30 or 40 lunches, since 1979 we must have sent each other 60 really good funny letters about poetry, our stuff, other people's stuff; we've had an understanding.... So why can't he think my poems are perfect?

I don't mean perfect but I mean like terrifically good with that certain radiance-that glow that I see emitted by the pages of my manuscript. He of all people should see it. God knows I've done my best to see and praise what's good in his work-despite his tendency toward the unsayable phrase and his habit of giving poem after poem the same pattern or shape.

Does he realize, I wonder, that I do have reservations about his work? …

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