Sunday, April 27, 2014

From this week's correspondence

It has been a week of miraculous letters.

One friend sent me a letter about stumbling across my first poetry collection, Boy Land, in the stacks at the Strand. He read it while sitting in the grass of Prospect Park and watching "a group of Orthodox Jewish men and boys . . . playing baseball."
So I read your book and while doing so felt alive, melancholy at times, very content at others. The boys and men in their yarmulkes ran after balls, and flubbed almost every single play. It was a miracle when one side finally got three outs. I suppose Brooklyn is my Harmony. You should not feel so far from the action, as it turns out to be everywhere. If you have a good book to read.
Another friend told me he had just finished Same Old Story and had the sudden thought that my poem "'Valentine’s Day' is the rural Maine version of Lou Reed’s 'I’m Waiting for the Man.'"

To add to the richness, I got letters about Same Old Story from each of my parents. My mother the poet, among many sweet and particular remarks about the book, mused, "Isn't it strange how the silly and the sad keep changing places in our emotional responses?" And my father, also lavish with kindness, ended his letter with "Got your peas in yet?"

I am so fortunate.

But, no, I haven't got my peas in yet. Not even close.

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