frederick-seidel

They're There

  In memory of Frank Kermode (1919–2010)

At least the dead don’t have to die.
Everyone you see is dead, but it’s the Hamptons, so get over it.
Edward, and next Dick—and now Frank—all dead. Boys, goodbye.
Frank, at ninety, said on the phone he didn’t particularly want to die.
Don’t try to tell Frank that his charming work won’t die.
The dead don’t give a shit
About their work once they die. Frank is the newcomer:
I look around the lawn and there is everyone.
Poirier and Said and Kermode are sipping white wine and it is summer.
The fancy world of dead is having fun.
Everyone is wearing summer light.
They can’t tell wrong from right.

A poem by Frederick Seidel (Boston Review, September/October 2012)

I will say that learning how to write has to do in part with learning how to accede to yourself and your object, instead of writing what you think you ought to write, or what at that point in time the world thinks poetry is about. Or what you think you ought to be about. The moment comes, if it ever comes, when you have enough strength to give way, to give in to being who you are, to give in to your themes. Giving in to your obsessions, giving in to the things that you will be writing about over and over. And sometimes the things you’ll be writing about over and over are things that some people don’t find very nice.
—  Frederick Seidel, The Art of Poetry No. 95

Seidel scared himself with poetry, and us too. How had he done it?” John Jeremiah Sullivan presented the Hadada Award to Frederick Seidel at The Paris Review’s Spring Revel last monthYou can read the full text of his speech and three of Seidel’s poems. This seems to be a much better week for Sullivan because he also just won the James Beard Foundation’s MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award for his essay “I Placed a Jar in Tennessee.”