March 7, 2017

"Bright Unequivocal Eye": Poems, Papers, and Remembrances by Bert G. Hornback

By Bert G. Hornback

In April of 1998 the 1st Jane Kenyon convention introduced jointly Donald corridor, Wendell Berry, Galway Kinnell, Alice Mattison, Gregory Orr, and Joyce Peseroff besides a few students, academics, scholars, and admirers of Jane Kenyon's poetry. What was once stated approximately Jane Kenyon and approximately her poetry was once proficient and informative, and infrequently very relocating. This quantity collects poems and comments approximately her and her paintings via corridor, Berry, Kinnell, Mattison, Orr, and Peseroff, in addition to essays through a dozen different convention individuals.

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Extra info for "Bright Unequivocal Eye": Poems, Papers, and Remembrances from the First Jane Kenyon Conference

Sample text

Every poet can tell you this. We can’t write a poem of enormous desolation, survive that desolation, and then read it next week in order to be consoled; somehow it just doesn’t work past the moment. But there is more at stake than the survival of the poet. The second survival is the survival of the reader. The lyric poem reaches out and helps the reader to live by echoing or representing some kind of analogue to an experience he or she has had. In other words, the personal lyric extends an invitation by presenting an experience with which the reader can sympathetically identify.

In quite a different vein, we have Hart Crane and Dylan Thomas. I think also of Blake, though perhaps that’s just a personal prejudice . . also Sylvia Plath, who has not been mentioned often in this gathering. I think of these figures as almost secular saints. ” Obviously I’ll transfer this to great poets, and simply stop there. If Sylvia Plath was Our Lady of the Rages, Jane was Our Lady of the Sorrows, Our Lady of Vulnerability. And I’d like to look at Jane’s story in a larger context, one in which we can try to understand what the example of her life and work is about .

Of course you will have to see it before I know whether it is any good. I think she enclosed it, and it was almost exactly the poem we have now. I believe that Jane went back and forth on the question of whether it’s better to write steadily or to keep silent until one is truly ready: if she waited for inspiration and intensity, she wasn’t working at her job; if she didn’t, she produced pathetic left-overs. Waiting was hard. “I’m having a terrible time at my desk,” she wrote on March 1, 1988, “(by which I think I mean I haven’t started anything new for two months).

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