As a writing man, or secretary, I have always felt charged with
the safekeeping of all unexpected items of worldly or unworldly
enchantment, as though I might be held personally responsible
if even a small one were lost.
– E. B. White, The Points of My Compass
The origins of this page lie back in early 2013, as I was reading the introduction to Garrison Keillor’s 2002 anthology, Good Poems. I was struck by his emphasis — and that of numerous poets he quoted — on the poem as story. He said that what makes a poem memorable is its narrative line, that good poems tend to incorporate some story, some cadence or shadow of story. Raymond Carver said that when he was writing a poem, he was still trying to tell a story. Kenneth Rexroth said that poets should write about real things that happen to real people. Dana Gioia said that when poets stopped telling stories, they narrowed the imaginative possibilities of their art.
As I read about what these poets had said about the relationship between poetry and storytelling, it occurred to me that I might try to write poems that were stories, stories that in Rexroth’s words were about real things that happened to real people. The poems in Food for a Journey are the result. Six of them are reproduced here, and as I promised on my Welcome page, I have also added a sampling of the short stories that I have written over the years under the inspiration of masters like V.S. Naipaul, Graham Greene, and Flannery O’Connor, stories that will here be receiving a form of publication for the first time.
Visiting Saint Sulpice
The links to the stories begin below.