Saturday, April 30, 2005

Dipping into

my friend Steve Burt's book about Randall Jarrell, I found this most amazing passage by Jarrell (from an unpublished lecture for librarians), which pretty much sums up my feelings only in more poetic language:

A shrew or a hummingbird eats half its weight in twenty-four hours; when I was a boy I read half my weight in a week. I went to school, played, did the things the grown-ups made me do; but no matter how little time I had left, there were never books enough to fill it--I lived on the ragged edge of having nothing to read.

I still live on the ragged edge of having nothing to read. It's the reason I could never live in a very remote location or a non-English-speaking country. Book supply problem.


  1. How I wish I could read that fast--I'm more likely to find myself feeling crushed by the weight of the accumulating books around me.

    Jarrell is often dazzling and this is a lovely, lovely, poignant moment--thank you for it.

  2. That passage was the one that stuck with me too.

    PS: Hi Jenny. Followed Steve's link here a couple of weeks ago and have been enjoying reading. Will be in touch.