“War veterans experience something called hypervigilance, a mental state of continual alertness for danger. I have a minor version of this, a writer’s version. For me, danger lies in the sound of a footstep, a spoken word. Anyone could destroy the fragile construction I have to make each day.” Roxana Robinson writes for VQR about the writer’s need for solitude. For more from Robinson, be sure to check out her essay for The Millions on Edith Wharton.
Editing poetry can be tricky, and the work is often misunderstood. Many of the best houses leave the work to the experts: actual poets. But is that the best route? Indeed, as this Telegraph article puts it, “a house’s tone and fortunes can be radically altered depending on the poet in charge of the poems of others.”
“Three weeks before she died on July 25, 2012, Marcia (Marty) Brown Stern ’54 sent me a registered letter, which began, ‘What is enclosed may astonish you.’ Indeed it did. The envelope included a draft of ‘marcia,’ an unpublished poem that Sylvia Plath ’55 wrote about their sophomore year together at Smith College in 1951.”
Point: “Repeated surveys show that children spend less time reading than did previous generations. They instead devote many hours of their waking lives to electronic screens of one kind or another.” Counterpoint: “Generation Y, those born between 1979 and 1989, spent the most money on books in 2011, taking over long-held book-buying leadership from baby boomers…with 43 percent of GenY’s purchases going to online channels, they are adding momentum to the industry shift to digital.” Conclusion?