Sunday, June 11, 2017

Faith and landscape …

… A Contrarian Friendship — Education & Culture. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… the letters shine with just the quirks and grace notes that one would hope for in personal correspondence. Both complain eloquently of hurry, distraction, and overwork, laughing at the popular conception of themselves as leading some kind of idyllic existence. In a letter of 1985, Snyder writes, “I had a person express dismay and disillusion recently when I offhandedly said I owned a chainsaw. Wait til they hear I have three cars, one truck, and two motorcycles all registered to run!” Berry often expresses his vexed relationship with teaching stints at the University of Kentucky. In a letter of 1976 he complains, “I’m done with the fall semester teaching—a bust. I gave nearly 1/3 incompletes. That is to say, I’m afraid, that the impossibility of teaching has begun: there is nothing in or behind many students to hold them up against a discipline.” He would seem to hold the same opinion of poets being interviewed as he does of his students in class. In a letter of 1980 he writes, “Most poet-interviews I see strike me as glib, shallow, self-exhibiting, worthless, embarrassing, and irresponsible. . . . I regret tractors, I guess, at least as much as I regret interviews.” And then he goes on to note, “In all of Boswell’s talks with him, Johnson is always a conversationalist, never an interviewee.”

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