This monthly event is hosted by Lu at Regular Rumination and Kailana at The Written World. I am a few days past due on this post and actually thought I would skip it altogether except today, I read a poem by Mark Doty in Kevin Young's anthology, The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing which led to a google search which led to Doty's web site, which led to this amazing essay; a response to the question, "Can Poetry Console a Giving Public?"
In it, he provides a thought provoking answer to the following question, "what are the uses of elegy?"
To confirm the loss is real, that individual disappearance matters; that the rupture in the known world is pointed to, held up for attention, shared. Death is, simply, not to be understood. But to assume that therefore no accommodations with it may be made is to give up on language's project of discovering and articulating meaning in experience. Through negotiation with the fact of mortality arises our education as human beings.
Wow - this really spoke to me. I have experienced a "rupture" in my known world, the day our 17-year old son was buried - now almost three years ago but at times, seems like yesterday.
And this quote in which he is speaking about his personal experience with death, of writing about it, and fellow sufferers' reactions to his work.
Art may not make anything better, but there is some power in recognizing that someone else has felt as you do, that your interiority which seems especially in grief so unreachable, may in fact share a space with the inner life of another.
This articulates why I continue to write on Josh's blog and why I have become a insatiable reader.
I have put his following works on my wish list:
- Atlantis - a collection of poems published in 1995 in which the title poem is dedicated to his lover Wally, who died in 1994 from AIDS.
- Heaven's Coast - a memoir published in 1997, based on their final years together.
- Dog Years - a memoir written ten years later and according to Goodreads, "is the story of two beloved retrievers and is a pointed, perceptive meditation on life, death, and the nature of companionship."