Friday, November 16, 2012
Sometimes I think about how my life could be bigger, my reach broader, my impact more lasting. Sometimes I wish. Sometimes I measure myself against impossible standards, or against something somebody said. And then the light will change, and I'm reminded of how empty and meaningless that kind of questing is.
Today that light was these words about fame from Jack Gilbert, quoted in the New York Times obituary written by Bruce Weber.
In 1962, Mr. Gilbert was a poetry star. He had won the Yale prize, and the editor Gordon Lish had devoted an entire issue of the literary journal Genesis West to him. Theodore Roethke, Stephen Spender and Stanley Kunitz praised him in print. He was in demand as a reader. But it didn’t take.“I enjoyed those six months of being famous,” he recalled in the Paris Review interview. “Fame is a lot of fun, but it’s not interesting. I loved being noticed and praised, even the banquets. But they didn’t have anything that I wanted. After about six months, I found it boring. There were so many things to do, to live. I didn’t want to be praised all the time — I liked the idea, but I didn’t invest much in it.”