Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yesterday I received one of those aforementioned lovely typewritten notes from George Core, editor of the Sewanee Review, in which he accepted my essay "Not Writing the Poem" for the journal. I seem to remember talking to you during the composition of this essay, which deals with inspiration and the lack thereof. Among other topics, I consider a writer's determination to soldier on even when the job of writing feels about as thrilling as sorting through old clothes for the Goodwill. But I also talk about the importance, sometimes, of just accepting that one is not writing. Merely putting down words on the page doesn't make those words valuable. There is, after all, much to be said for silence.

Here's the opening to Joe Bolton's poem "Aubade." Which means dawn, as you know. Which means I have to take it seriously.

Somehow they're never quite what we meant them to be,
Our lives and the little music
We make of them.


Maureen said...


"Just accepting that one is not writing" is great advice. A lot of wonder can come out of silence.

Amazing what Bolton says in so few lines.

Dawn Potter said...

According to Donald Justice, who was his teacher and who edited his collected poems after his suicide, Bolton's poems "effortlessly . . . transcend the merely anecdotal; they are always edging toward something emblematic. And they can be immensely moving in their modesty." I really, really love these poems.