Thursday, June 16, 2011

Not Writing

"I should say a little more about this, about not writing. A lot of people ask me about it, and I ask myself. And asking myself why I do not write inevitably leads to another, much more unsettling question: why did I ever write? After all, the normal thing is to read. I have two preferred answers. The first, that my poetry was- without my knowledge- an attempt to create an identity for myself; having created and assumed this identity, I was no longer concerned to throw myself into every poem I set about writing, which is what fascinated me. The other, that it was all a mistake: I believed that I wanted to be a poet, but deep down I wanted to be a poem. And to a degree, an unfortunate degree, I have achieved this; like any reasonably well-crafted poem, I am all need and internal submission to that tormented tyrant, that insomniac, omniscient and ubiquitous Big Brother: Me. Half Caliban, Half Narcissus, I fear him most when I hear him interrogate me, next to an open balcony: "What's a boy of 1950 like you doing in an indifferent year like this?" All the rest is silence."

-Jaime Gil de Biedma