It should go without saying that no one goes into poetry for money.
Poetry makes us children again.
Novels have hurt me. Stories have punctured my skeptical skin. Essays have made me rethink the world. But a melancholic poem shatters me.
A well-placed poem can remind us that our existences are, cosmically, equally as brief as these 15 lines.
'Spring and Fall,' written by Gerard Manley Hopkins in September, 1880, and collected in his Poems and Prose, is the saddest poem ever written.
"Though the pages of My Salinger Year are lousy with writers, at heart this is a book about readers, professional and unprofessional, who hunger for communion with the remote and often troubled authors they revere.” - Michael Bourne reviews My Salinger Year and a literary world now lost.
As any blackjack dealer or tarot reader might tell you, we have a love for the flip of the card. Why shouldn’t we? Chance has some special properties. It is a swift, consistent, and relatively cheap decider. It is subject to neither blame nor regret.
David Mitchell (author of Cloud Atlas) is tweeting a short story all this week - line by line. Fittingly, the narrator is a teenage boy high on Valium.
I read selections from my Intro to Philosophy textbook in the basement of my dorm in between loads of laundry, which I had to wring out over a drain in the floor before tossing them in the dryer. I remember rushing through my assigned chapters of Moby-Dick every Sunday night before class, when I would meet with three other students and a professor to discuss symbolism. And I remember my horror when I realized exactly how long “Song of Myself” was at two in the morning. But somehow that horror is gone now, and all that’s left is the quiet joy that came from spending so much time interacting with books I otherwise might never have opened.