life and death…

September 10, 2016

a-writer

I write because I would like to live forever. The fact of my future death offends me. Part of this derives from my sense of my own insignificance in the universe. My life and death are a barely momentary flicker. I would like to become more than that. That the people and things I love will die wounds me as well. I seek to immortalize the world I have found and made for myself, even knowing that I won’t be there to witness that immortality, mine or my works, that by definition I will never know whether my endeavour has been successful. But when has impossibility ever deterred anyone from a cherished goal? As the brilliant poet and teacher Alvin Feinman once said to me, “Poetry is always close kin to the impossible, isn’t it?”

Reginald Shepherd
Why I Write
(From: Orpheus in the Bronx: Essays on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry, published by the University of Michigan Press)

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