Page 14 - Litteratteur Redefining World December issue
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Litterateur redefining world                      December 2020

                                    "Kid, I didn't think you'd be able to go."

           "There  was  of  course  a  'real'  Thomas  Gray,  a  man  who  actually  existed  and  who  did  a
           number of things beside write poetry. The Gray I was experiencing was not that person but
           Gray the poet, the bard. Aspects of both our lives seemed suddenly to fall away, to be of
           little consequence. What did it matter who the man Thomas Gray was? What did it matter
           who I was -born in New Jersey, growing up in New York? My powerful reaction to Gray's
           words allowed me to recognize not only who he was but who I was: I 'was' a poet. And to
           'be'  a  poet  meant  to  be  transformed,  to  move  away  from  the  person  who  lived  at  58

           Prospect Street and who was 15 years old and who had a mother named Juan and a father
           named  Jack.  Poetry  offered  me  another  identity,  that  of  the  poet;  and,  in  so  doing,  it
           offered  me  another  `home' -that  of  words.  The  life  I  led  'at  home' -'in  my  house' -was  one
           thing; the life of words (the wordworld!) was another.

           When  I  arrived  at  Cornell  one  of  my  poems  had  been  published  in  my  high  school
           yearbook ("We shall return no more, no more, our days...."). Three short pieces had been
           selected for an anthology of high school poetry. Another poem had been published in a
           series  called  "Yale  Penny  Poets."  (Later  I  learned  that  Larry  Eigner  had  a  poem  in  that
           series as well.) I momentarily considered majoring in math, which I was good at and had
           enjoyed in high school. But I knew that my primary interests lay elsewhere, and I became
           an English major. My minor was French literature.

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