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Letters & Essays: P-R

Letters & Essays of the Day

Perfection

By Sarah Manguso

For years I could barely write a page. I thought I was becoming a virtuoso of smallness while the grief, which is wordless, occupied an ever-greater volume.

My friend lived in the estates on the bad side of town. Let’s go to the forest, she said when I went over to play. There were three trees in the yard, but if you know where to stand, you can get lost in a forest of three trees. She could do it. She had to. Her mother died when we were nine.

Answers to A Query on Thomas Wolfe

By Maxwell Perkins

1. I also enclose a brief statement of some of the facts of Mr. Wolfe's life, which will complete the answer to this question. He began to write for publication about three years before the publication of "Look Homeward Angel" which appeared in 1929. Before that he had written two plays but neither one was ever produced although those to whom they were submitted did discern the great talent of the man. Probably the play form is too precise and sharply limited for his sort of expansive genius.