Don’t Quit!

don't quit

An e-mail message from The Hawaii Review politely thanked me for sending them my seven tsunami poems but said they have no use for them.  At least they took the time to respond, which not all publications do anymore.  It was with a sigh of dismay I took the news and went forward with my day.

Among the many recommended books on my list were a couple by the American poet, James Wright.  The library was able to get me a volume of his letters which consists of five hundred eighty-one pages of mostly very long letters (which I can relate to, as I spent twenty years writing long letters to a list of about 20-30 friends and relatives whom I thought might be interested in the goings on of my life.)

Wright hated Ohio, where he was born and got away from at age 18 by joining the military.  I was also born in Ohio and do not nor ever did bear such disdain for the state.  For me it is where I have returned, completing my circle of cross country moves. What I find interesting in his ramblings are his struggles with his own identity as a poet, which by page 115 he claimed to have quit poetry and said he was not, in fact, a poet.  Every disappointment seems to deliver that feeling.  Then the silver lining appears.  For me it was the next day’s e-mail from the University of Iowa’s Daily Palette advising me that my poem, Change in the Air would be printed in their May 18th edition.

There is a fifteen minute television program called Booknotes on Friday evenings in which authors are interviewed.  One of the common questions is “What advice would you give to your younger self?”  The usual answer has been, “Don’t quit”.   At the very least, I think, if a man like James Wright questioned his own qualifications, then it seems it must be normal to wonder if one is on the right road after all, but then to take heart and keep trudging along.

Iowa Writes

Change in the air

The door of summer creaks to a close as
wind blows dried leaves in eddys down the hill.

The cry of the banshee is carried across the valley
from the torment of her heart, shrieks cut into night.

Flames dance in the fire to heat the house, their
crackle and the boiling tea kettle diminish the
howls from outside of a dying season


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s