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On Craft

by Kevin T. McEneaney
Thu Jan 2nd, 2020

Li Po was correct about collecting

books for a writer’s personal pleasure.

Reading copies just don’t last forever.

They are subject to mold, worms; common dust

damages them. Pages turn pale yellow,

fray, become brittle, even turn to dust.

If they are any good—like Homer or James Joyce—

they are reprinted each generation.

 

A writer should not overly admire

another writer, not even great ones

because in the end that’s a distraction.

Best to heave your shoulder to the iron plow

and drive your crooked furrow as you will

without ever thinking of our great Will!