Donna Spector: “Twenty years ago a friend asked, ‘Why do you write?’ I answered without hesitation, ‘My writing is my life.’ I felt that I sounded melodramatic, but I knew it was true. I love language and telling stories, in plays, fiction and poetry. Writing helps me to understand myself and make sense of the world around me. When I don’t write for some time, I feel lost and empty. Each time I write, I try something new, as a challenge and an inspiration, like a journey to unknown places. And I have been a single parent since my son was four, and he’s now in college.” (web)
“John Berryman Used to Sway” by Donna SpectorPosted by Rattle
JOHN BERRYMAN USED TO SWAY
or lean into a corner when he read Yeats
and Cummings. He still suffered
from malaria, he said, but he could dissect our dreams
like a surgeon looking for the heart
of the matter, which was always sex. I was just
eighteen and easily offended. When he took me
to the Steppenwolf, our student bar,
I tried to argue lust into some other universe,
but I was pretty and silly in my fake
Oxford accent, and he said, Be quiet.
And, studying my poems as though they were
worth his attention, Remove all articles
and conjunctions. I remember a line: where the fires fall.
Blue fires, he said. You understand?
I didn’t, but I loved him, memorized haiku
in Japanese for him, Dante in Italian.
On New Year’s Eve I drank wine with him in his
tiny Berkeley apartment. He gave me
a handwritten Henry poem and asked me
for a dream. I can’t, I said, holding my inner
life away. All I need is one word,
he said. Just one word.