26 December 2005

Wright to Silko

[from The Delicacy and Strength of Lace: Leslie Marmon Silko & James Wright Letters, edited by Anne Wright]

June 15, 1979
Wright to Silko

I am somewhat taken aback to realize that I have made more or less workable versions of exactly thirty new pieces. At least I have revised them and copied them into a larger notebook. Now they will have to lie there by themselves for a while until they change. They almost always do. A poem is a very odd duck. It goes through changes—in form and color—when you leave it alone patiently, just as surely as a plant does, or an animal, or any other creature. Have you ever read a book by someone which you know has been written too quickly and impatiently and then published too soon? Such books always remind me of tomatoes or oranges that have been picked still green and then squirted full of artificial colors. They look nice on the supermarket shelves, and they taste awful. I remember reading such books and feeling the glands under my chin begin to ache. They made me feel as though I were getting the mumps.

1 comment:

  1. I fell head over heels in love with that book the first time I read it, years ago. I should get it off the shelf and dive in again.