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Letters & Essays: G-I

Travels with Ezra

By Dan Glover

At graduation, a few scholarly patrons flung money at me from afar, and I went to Italy to chart the constellation of Ezra Pound's allusions, icy and distant in his Cantos alone. I brought Ezra everywhere for a year, his books bundled deep in my backpack, like captives held behind the glass of a departing phaeton. I visited towns for a stanza—sometimes a line-treating the annotations of biographers and fellow travelers as chalk marks on a fence: Go here, it is very beautiful. Don't go there, it is nearly destroyed.

Letter from Greenwich Village

By Vivian Gornick

For nearly twenty years now Leonard and I have met once a week for a walk, dinner, and a movie, either in his neighborhood or mine. Except for the two hours in the movie, we hardly ever do anything else but talk. One of us is always saying, Let’s get tickets for a play, a concert, a reading, but neither of us ever seems able to ­arrange an evening in advance of the time we are to meet. The fact is, ours is the most satisfying conversation either of us has, and we can’t bear to give it up even for one week. 

Wild Flavor

By Karl Taro Greenfeld

Fang Lin woke to the usual din: the bleat of a truck reversing; the steady, metallic tattoo of a jackhammer; the whining buzz of a steel saw; the driving in of nails; the slapping down of bricks; the irregular thumping—like sneakers in a dryer—of a cement mixer.

Up and down the coast, from Shenzhen to Fujian to Shanghai to Tianjin, this was what you heard. They were building—a skyscraper, a shopping mall, a factory, a new highway, an overpass, a subway, a train station—here, there, everywhere. 

 

Method in Poetic Composition

By Donald Hall

Historically, poets have generally adopted one of two main “poses,” or manners of considering their own metier. One has been the prophet, or vates, the divine madman who scrawls out his gifts from the gods in a state of inspiration and frenzy. The vates corresponds to the popular conception of the poet as long-haired eccentric. Contemporary critical opinion, on the other hand, often seems to disbelieve in the vates, and to expect all poets to conform to the other traditional category, that of the craftsman, the careful “maker.”