There’s something indescribably appealing to me in what you write and I think appealing to anyone who reads you with attention. I’d like to be able to indicate more clearly what it is but so far it has escaped collaring. That I suspect is exactly what you want. It is a problem that eludes me.

You need a book of your closely chosen work. I think, if you thought out and selected your choice very carefully, it would be one of the most worthwhile books of the generation. It would have to be a small book squeezed up to get the gists alone of what you have to say. Much would have to be omitted. You may not be old enough yet to know your own mind for it would have to be a thoughtful, adult book of deep feeling that would reveal you in what may not want to be revealed. I am curious to know what you are thinking — you never say. But you reveal more by your poems than can be easily deciphered and that is what draws a reader on. Perhaps you will never be able to say what you want to say. In that case you make me feel that the loss will be great.

William Carlos Williams, writing to Denise Levertov, 1953

Advertisements