For years following the death of my mother, I wanted to write about her. I started writing what I thought of as personal essays about growing up as her child, but I never could finish any of them. I think I was too close to that loss, and too eager to try and resolve things, to make her death make sense.
A week of sweeping fogs has passed over and given me a strange sense of exile and desolation. I walk round the island nearly every day, yet I can see nothing anywhere but a mass of wet rock, a strip of surf, and then a tumult of waves.
Losing my father made me want to find out if I could come up with a version of God or the afterlife that I could feel like was acceptable now that both my parents are in it.
A translation is no translation, he said, unless it will give you the music of a poem along with the words of it.
The grief of the keen is no personal complaint for the death of one woman over eighty years, but seems to contain the whole passionate rage that lurks somewhere in every native of the island.
Prose is something that is persistent in staying in one place long enough to not only zero in on the dramatic effect of something that might have happened, or something that might have been seen, but also in watching how it played out and thinking about the cause and the effect.
Brooklyn is kind of my writer’s retreat.
I love the sense of looking at the sad, paltry, and yet very familiar spectacle that we must make from moment to moment in our lives, and in our frenzy, as something that’s as out there as alien life.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the difference between poetry and prose, and as I’ve experienced it, poetry is insistent. It allows for images and statements to operate in a single space and resonate powerfully without the application to be elaborated upon and narrated.
I think humans have always felt watched back by whatever is out there flickering in the distance. What excites me is what the imagination creates, not simply in explanation of what is there but also to explain or justify the feeling of awe and attachment that the heavens inspire.