I thought, perhaps, that I would write an essay about Mr. Kowalski, but what I feel is a dreamy, migraine-aura, pre-flu sensation that does not presage essay writing. It seems that I am coming down with a poem.
To help the embryo along, I've started rereading Nabokov's Berlin stories, and also I am copying out Anne Carson's long poem about Emily Bronte, "The Glass Essay." I had never read anything by Carson until my friend Tom Rayfiel suggested her to me, and now I am enraptured by this poem. I can't believe it took me so long to discover her. Is everything else she writes this good?
Fortunately I have permission to include "The Glass Essay" in my anthology; so by copying it out, I'm preparing to write a poem and accomplishing functional work at the same time. This hardly ever happens.
I wonder if Anne Carson would answer fan letters. Alice Munro does not, but Colm Toibin does. I wonder if I can explain this rain to you. For, yes, again, forever, it is raining pouring dripping running pattering sluicing, and the maples the grasses are vibrating with wet with green, the purple-quilled azalea heaves up like a porcupine under the chokecherries, rain runs down the windowglass like tears. Yesterday a journal editor asked me to review a book about rereading. I wonder if writing that review will break my heart. I wonder if writing this poem about Mr. Kowalski will ever begin. I wonder if rain will flood our basement if rain will flood our driveway if rain will overflow the streams if the wood ducks will ever return to our brook if I will hear a thrush sing in the sodden gloaming if I will ever bring myself to leave this place.