The fact that I am writing these sentences and you are reading them means that for us, compared with a large swath of humanity, the coin toss is rigged to go our way most of the time.
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The worst response to this realization would be to write a poetry of self-indulgent guilt, itself a product of the luxury it condemns. Her poems hack their verbal energy from deep sources in Renaissance poetry and its classical models.
Jason had the misfortune to suffer misfortune the third of July. So when Jason lay blue and inert on the table.
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The household gods have abandoned us to the gods of juris- prudence and suburban sprawl. This language preserves intact many vestiges of the cultural past. She knows that she is not credentialled to speak for the entire human race, but her vision of justice is clear, her sadness palpable; she hates what happens when people fall outside our reach. Every poet of moral breadth becomes, in time, a lamenter of her own limitations. When I was reading Gregerson earlier this summer, word arrived that James Tate had died at the age of seventy-one.
He regarded this esteem, like everything else, with curiosity and amusement. The poems track the absurdist accommodations made by their protagonists to reality and logic, but we never quite get the knack for how life is played, and then the game ends.
The book is filled with echoes of his Amherst neighbor. I had barely said my prayers when I felt a large insect crawl over my face. I was afraid to move. When I opened my eyes I saw it was a piece of plastic that had torn loose from a project I was working on in the next room. But what had torn it loose?
The plastic thing kills him, but only within the poem that he created. Which one wins: James Tate, or his homicidal piece of plastic? The milk can find a use for me but not for my belief, nor yours, and it beggars the best of our purposes. Unlearned with great labor while the tumor thrived, and all the elixirs in Mexico could not revise her sentence by a day.
We saw again the elegant economy with which God sculpts the infant face.
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