Wednesday, September 30, 2015

This morning a friend wrote to me: "Listening now to a tape of the 1965 National Book Awards. [Theodore] Roethke wins, but is dead, so [Stanley] Kunitz accepts and eulogizes, during which he reveals that among R's papers were found 1200 poems by other poets written out in his own hand. 'He said he didn't know what was in a poem until he had transcribed it.'"

I've wondered what my family will think, after my death, of the thousands of copied-out poems in my computer files and commonplace books. Will they see them as nothing? Or will they be interested? Does it matter?

I don't spend too much time cogitating about the future. I am not so vain as to imagine that I will be transmitting any kind of important archive to my sons. I do not worry about whether or not they read my writing now, or if they ever will read it. Still, I do have a mild fly-on-the-wall curiosity about their reaction to these transcriptions. Thousands of other people's poems. What does one do with them?

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