Audrey Hepburn grocery shopping with her deer, photographed by Bob Willoughby, 1958.
I suppose the two poets who most help me here are Frank O’Hara and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Coleridge’s “conversation” poems, like “Frost at Midnight” and “The Nightingale” and “This Lime-Tree Bower, My Prison,” are intimate poems written on specific occasions. They are meditative and personal and candid. The reader gets a sense, above all, of the friendliness of the enterprise, even when Coleridge feels blue.
In his beautiful, tough little essay “Personism,” O’Hara talks about the poem as a thing held between two people rather than two pages. These poets give me permission to write to a beloved interlocutor—someone intelligent, discriminating, permissive, tender, and interested. Fortunately for me, Craig (to whom most of the poems of this collection are addressed) was all of these things. But Craig is certainly not the only person to whom (and for whom) I write. I just want to feel like I’m conversing with a witty, observant friend.
At Quebec’s Garden of Decaying Books ”culture is fading back into nature.”