I remember Mr. Phillip Levine saying that the reason he told the truth about a student’s poems was because his life depended on people telling him the truth about his.
After reading about his death in the (Feb. 16) Bee, I think of a line from a W.S. Merwin poem about John Berryman, a poet who was one of Levine’s teachers: Don’t write if you need to be sure.
Perhaps over a lifetime one begins to tell the truth about that demand for certainty which takes the life out of life and poems.
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