I really enjoyed reading your collection ‘The Not Dead.’ Well, I didn’t enjoy it exactly. It hurt to read it. It hurt in the way that all beautiful things should hurt, like when you walk into a Catholic church and there’s Christ, hanging from the cross in all his majestic pain and glory with the sins of the world being poured down upon him and all you can look at is the glorious definition of his sculpted abdominal muscles. The pain makes it all the more beautiful. And the more beautiful it is, the more it hurts.
Yesterday I read an essay where they talked about Tolstoy’s clumsy repetition of words in ‘War and Peace.’ I’ve never read it. But the man who wrote the essay argued that in translations of the novel the repetition should be left as it was because it was clearly intentional, and indeed, it’s the clumsiness of the repetition that makes the sentiments expressed so raw and genuine. I bought the essay at the same time as I bought your collection ‘The Not Dead,’ and in the same bookshop. So maybe you’ve seen it. I like the idea that you’d know a book just because it was on the shelf next to your own. Like you go around bookshops looking for your own work.
I’d quite like to do that one day. What really hurt about your poetry was that I suddenly realised I could never ever write anything nearly as dark and delicate and fragile as that. Not ever. The real pain was the sudden realisation that now I have to try.
With Kind Regards,