"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Saturday, October 03, 2009

"She was the single artificer of the world in which she sang"

Yesterday was the birthday of Wallace Stevens, one of my all-time favorite poets, who happened to have been a lawyer, and subsequently vice-president of an insurance company, and whose life was "quiet and uneventful" according to poets.org. And to be fair, he does sound a bit like you'd expect an insurance lawyer to sound when he reads, but The Idea of Order at Key West is not something you can skim quickly and hope to get, so the pace is probably helpful. It has unfolded for me over a period of almost 20 years. There are still things in it that I can't quite get my head around - they make sense on a level that I don't know how to explain, and the language is stunning, as if events are happening in a world that resembles ours but isn't, quite. Maybe getting ones head around it is not so important.

I can't think of Wallace Stevens without feeling gratitude for the person who really introduced me to him and who gave me the volume I have of his collected works, probably circa 1991 or thereabouts...can't remember for sure. Thanks, Laurie.

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