Whilst reading Thunder and Lightning, Cracking Open The Writer's Craft by Natalie Goldberg, she lists a poem that has inspired her and uses it to illustrate a point she is making. I love her for this. Not only do you get her tips and inspiration and advice about writing you get poems and prose and quotes, links to the wider world of literature, Zen, her life and influences. Places to cross over and sample these delights in more depth.
So of course I had to order, from my local library, Above The River; the complete poems of James Wright, 1927 - 1980. Included in this collection is the poem I was refering to, A Blessing, from his 1963 book The Branch Will Not Break.
God it's good.
I picked up the book about five hours ago and performed my usual ritual of reading the back page to see what others had to say about the author and see if there is a photograph. I like to visualise the writer. Then I have a flick through, open it at random, see what catches my eye.
Here are some of the poem titles. Magnificence. Entering the Kingdom of the Moray Eel. Dawn near an Old Battlefield, in a Time of Peace. Having Lost My Sons, I Confront the Wreckage of the Moon: Christmas 1960.
Already I am hooked and want to read more then this. Depressed by a Book of Bad Poetry, I Walk toward an Unused Pasture and Invite the Insects to Join Me.
What a thunderbolt of a title. I almost fainted. And then reading through the book a poem ends half way down a page and then the title of the next poem.
In Memory of the Horse David, Who Ate One of My Poems.
And guess what, the rest of the page is blank then another poem begins on the next page.
So the horse ate his poem and he leaves the page blank, because the poem is lost, eaten by a horse.Ha ha ha, excellent, truly. I almost cannot believe it and it reminds me of Spike Milligan, who was also a tender and moving poet.
I love James Wright, for this and for his poetry and prose. What a beautiful book to spend some time with, filled with beautiful words beautifully used.