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RonPrice
04-25-2007, 08:53 AM
I dedicate this post to your Robert Merrill on behalf of the famous American poet James Merrill. My name is Ron Price. I live in Tasmania. It is cool::cool:
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I mean to learn, in the language of where I am going, barely enough to ask for food and love.-James Merrill
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MERRILL

James Merrill(1926-1995) started writing poetry about the time I was born back in the 1940s. In the burgeoning world of poetry among other burgeonings I did not hear of Merrill until just the other day, after I had retired from FT, PT and most of my volunteer work in 2005 about ten years after he died. His first book of poetry appeared just after I graduated from grade one in 1951. His memoirs, A Different Person, were published just after I finished the first edition of my own memoirs in 1993 when I was heading into the last six years of my teaching career. One writer and critic said Merrill’s memoirs were “deceptively simple and beguiling.”1 My memoirs were neither simple nor beguiling: more’s the pity. That same critic said Merrill’s memoirs were “a gloss on his brilliant but sometimes daunting poetry.” I would like my poetry to be both brilliant and daunting, but I have my doubts. There is a search for erotic satisfaction that permeates Merrill's work. I, too, was on a similar search, but the erotic does not permeate my memoirs. -Ron Price with thanks to Bridgette Weeks, “How James Merrill Came of Age,” The New York Times On The Web, 12 December 1993.

Someone said you were
tidying up your closets,
psychological and other;
that you were hilariously
funny about your complex,
entangled life; that writing
for you was an exercise of
elegance and wit, a chronicle
of love and loss; that you
became kinder and generous
with age; that you were a major
poet in mid-century when I was
young and growing up; that you
were an engaging poet with a core
of autobiography transformed into
meaning, memories of rooms, poems
and a matching of life with language.

Someone said you realized you wanted
to be a poet about the time of that 2nd
great war from 1937 to 1944 and the 1st
Seven year Plan—long before you flooded
the world with your intelligence and gave
yourself a fair hold on eternal memory
among readers of poetry, that small band.

Writing poetry was for you a collaborative
experience done in silence, full time as you
visited, again and again the rooms of your
life, the stanzas1 where you wrote and wrote
the story of it all far beyond that cache of
juvenilia and its crudities and memorabilia.

1 the word stanza means room in Italian. Italy was the birth place of the sonnet.