I get a “poem-a-day” newsletter from the American Academy of Poets (poets.org). Today’s had a message from poet Jane Hirshfield, the Academy’s chancellor, inviting me to the October Poets Forum in New York City. Alas, Chancellor Hirshfield, I cannot attend, but thank you for the poetic invitation. Here’s an excerpt:
“when writing, a poet is a solitude accompanied by ink. And yet, any creative expression draws from the world and leads outward, back into the world. We live, think, feel, weigh, sing, in a world-web of others.
And so, it’s no surprise that the Japanese haiku poet Basho, even during his final illness in 1694, might wonder about his neighbor’s fate:
how is he doing?
Or that Francis of Assisi would write in his thirteenth-century “Canticle of the Sun” of “Brother Sun,” “Brother Fire,” “Sister Moon,” “Sister Water.” Whatever enters into a poem is family, is relation.
A writer, however seemingly solitary, is one autumn leaf among others, one branch and tree among others–“