Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for March 3rd, 2013

“A lifetime of standing in thunderstorms…”

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Randall Jarrell

Good painters in their sixties may produce good pictures as regularly as an orchard produces apples; but Planck is a great scientist because he made one discovery as a young man—and I can remember reading in a mathematician’s memoirs a sentence composedly recognizing the fact that, since the writer was now past forty, he was unlikely ever again to do any important creative work in mathematics. A man who is a good poet at forty may turn out to be a good poet at sixty; but he is more likely to have stopped writing poems, to be doing exercises in his own manner, or to have reverted to whatever commonplaces were popular when he was young. A good poet is someone who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times; a dozen or two dozen times and he is great.

Randall Jarrell

Written by nevalalee

March 3, 2013 at 9:50 am

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