when two poets meet, lovers of books, & letters

poets, letters, books

A third way to dispel an unwanted feeling is to write a letter. No, not the digital one. Write on a piece of paper and then put it into an unaddressed envelope, seal it and put it into an empty shoe box in the filing cabinet where you keep your IRS returns and other similar kind. You may want to transcribe it into a digital/audio file, just in case you want to use it for the text of a poem or haiku in my case. But this is not my subject today, which is, what happens when two poets meet?

“When our lives meet

I can remember to be strong;” (** I took this at random from a poem of another favorite poet in not so many bygone years. )

The original poem is about a quiet place (like virtual) for two poets (my interpretation), a woman and a man, each with each own separate life/family. Each poet’s voice through their poems unintentionally resonates with that of the other.

Here is a visual: a woman poet in her above quote makes a stance to stand strong for the man on the common ground they share in their poetic ideals. In a way, it makes the poem alive. An elderly (born 1946) woman standing tall and firm waving her poetry work in her hand, to a man (born 1965) standing tall and firm waving his poetry book to her in turn across the vast ocean.

Some of the younger readers may wonder how that can be plausible, or even imaginable, seeing the vast difference in chronological gap? Possible and plausible. In a strange sublime and transcendental behavior, a poem, or rather a creative and unique arrangement of words with the intention to communicate a thought, a feeling, a picture, a sound, a story, or just the mere shape of the poetic formation of characters in visual, it somehow communicates to someone somewhere, especially to another poet.

You may want to call it a seamless connection.

Coming back to the beginning of this post, letters were mentioned as a third way out of the feeling of (fill in your adjectives). I happened to come across 84 Charing Cross Road (1987) movie clips and later listened to the audio book on a sleepless night, questioning the point of writing anything at all in this age. of uncertainty, including the question whether anyone reads anything at all for more than one minute or watch a video clip or listen to an audio recording for more than two minutes. I have not yet read any review of this book about an old book shop at the location where I used to roam, and hunt, to physically browse around, shoveling through the dust, and hopefully make a find of a rare gem of a book.

One of the thoughts that came to mind was what was the intention of the author? The content of the letters had to be restricted to books*, to find, to buy and to sell and deliver. The relationship between the two who penned the letters had to be confined to that between a customer of the bookshop and the employee of the bookshop. How can an author expect to sell her book on such contents? Amazing.

The two correspondents never met in persons. Across the oceans their letters shared their lives around books (papers). An outsider of the circle of book lovers would have imagined the relationship as thin as a sheet of paper, or a line of a poem in the case of the above two poets.

You too, may think so, because you prefer other kinds of books or the modern digital way feelings and thoughts are now communicated. But I know you are not here anyway to read this even if I send you a link.

Meanwhile, I salute fellow readers and enthusiasts for books and poetry and writing letters across oceans. I mean the real books (in paper) of course.

spirit-mind man 2021-11-11

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*By the way, the list of 36 books mentioned in the letters can be found at this link: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/137518.Books_Mentioned_in_84_Charing_Cross_Road

Note: Helene Hanff (April 15, 1916 – April 9, 1997) was an American writer born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is best known as the author of the book 84, Charing Cross Road, which became the basis for a stage play, television play, and film of the same name.The epistolary work 84, Charing Cross Road was first published in 1970. It chronicles Hanff’s 20 years of correspondence with Frank Doel, the chief buyer for Marks & Co, a London bookshop. She depended on the bookshop—and on Doel—for the obscure classics and British literature titles that fueled her passion for self-education. (Wikipedia)

an audio reading of the above book : [https://youtu.be/UvGsJL8RbaQ]

**from a poem <a quiet space (for Kim Cheng)> by Anne Lee Tzu Pheng (Singapore). Boey Kim Cheng (Asian-Australian) is another poet. Both are renown award winners in their fields.

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