The poet James Wright was born on this day in 1927. In September 1975, he answered a fan letter with the story of how he’d cheered up a lonely poet (Bill Knott, no less) one Thanksgiving: with bananas. Lots of them. Read more of Wright’s correspondence in A Wild Perfection: The Selected Letters of James Wright.
Poetry is a strange adventure; at crucial times it is—it has to be a search undertaken in absolute solitude. But when we emerge from the solitude, we so often find ourselves lost in loneliness—which is quite a different thing from solitude. America is so vast a country, and people who value the life of the spirit, and try their best to live such a life, certainly need times and places of uncluttered solitude all right. But after the journey into solitude—where so many funny and weird and sometimes startlingly beautiful things can happen, whether in language or—even more strangely—in the silences between words and even within words—we come out into crowds of people, and chances are that they also are desperately lonely. Sometimes it takes us years—years, years!—to convey to other lonely persons just what it was that we might have been blessed and lucky enough to discover in our solitude. Read More