Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Following Dunn

A follow-up, this time a fragment of Wallace Stevens, related both to that Stephen Dunn poem and, to a lesser extent, to Jim Harrison’s memoir Off to One Side, which I read over spring break. The memoir itself is okay, occasionally great, especially when focused on Harrison’s relationship, both as a child and an adult, with the Michigan landscape. The pleasure of the concrete. Not of concrete, but of that which is concrete. As Edward Abbey almost put it, of this rock, this tree, this cloud.

“The greatest poverty is not to live
In a physical world, to feel that one’s desire
Is too difficult to tell from despair. Perhaps,
After death, the non-physical people, in paradise,
Itself non-physical, may, by chance, observe
The green corn gleaming and experience
The minor of what we feel.”

- Wallace Stevens: from “Esthetique du Mal”

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