writers being real

Writers being real is a collection of images of writers doing things like not writing. This collection is deliberately named. It could be called The Life of the Author, but then you might think I don't believe in The Death of the Author. And I do.

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Dorothy West and Langston Hughes

Rest in peace Adrienne Rich (05/16/29-03/27/12)

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

My swirling wants.  Your frozen lips. 
The grammar turned and attacked me. 
Themes, written under duress. 
Emptiness of the natations. 

They gave me a drug that slowed the healing of wounds. 

I want you to see this before I leave: 
the experience of repetition as death 
the gailure of criticism to locate the pain 
the poster in the bus that said: 
my bleeding is under control. 

A red plant in a cemetery of plastic wreaths. 

A last attempt: the language is a dialect called metaphor. 
These images go unglossed: hair, glacier, flashlinght. 
when I think of a landscape I am thinking of a time. 
When I talk of taking a trip I mean forever. 
I could say: those mountains have a meaning 
but further than that I could not say. 

To do something very common, in my own way. 

1970

Louise Crane and the poet Elizabeth Bishop as amateur boxers

The lovely Wisława Szymborska (07/02/1923-02/01/2012)

The lovely Wisława Szymborska (07/02/1923-02/01/2012)

Anne Sexton and her daughter Linda. This is unprecedented but please enjoy a letter Anne Sexton wrote to Linda in 1969:

Wed — 2:45 P.M.
Dear Linda,

I am in the middle of a flight to St. Louis to give a reading. I was reading a New Yorker story that made me think of my mother and all alone in the seat I whispered to her “I know, Mother, I know.” (Found a pen!) And I thought of you — someday flying somewhere all alone and me dead perhaps and you wishing to speak to me.

And I want to speak back. (Linda, maybe it won’t be flying, maybe it will be at your own kitchen table drinking tea some afternoon when you are 40. Anytime.) — I want to say back.

1st, I love you.

2. You never let me down

3. I know. I was there once. I too, was 40 and with a dead mother who I needed still.

This is my message to the 40-year-old Linda. No matter what happens you were always my bobolink, my special Linda Gray. Life is not easy. It is awfully lonely. I know that. Now you too know it — wherever you are, Linda, talking to me. But I’ve had a good life — I wrote unhappy — but I lived to the hilt. You too, Linda — Live to the HILT! To the top. I love you, 40-year old Linda, and I love what you do, what you find, what you are! — Be your own woman. Belong to those you love. Talk to my poems, and talk to your heart — I’m in both: if you need me. I lied, Linda. I did love my mother and she loved me. She never held me but I miss her, so that I have to deny I ever loved her — or she me! Silly Anne! So there!

XOXOXO

Mom

(Source: lettersofnote.com)

(Source: missannethrowpea)

Ladies and gentlemen, the very thoughtful Kay Ryan, former Poet Laureate, has won a MacArthur

Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado: Eileen Myles

Poet Czesław Miłosz with Pope John Paul II circa 1980

Poet Czesław Miłosz with Pope John Paul II circa 1980

Robert Creeley in San Francisco, 1956 

Robert Creeley in San Francisco, 1956 

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