The Prompter Room

For Friday, December 14, 2018:


The Tao Te Ching is partly in prose, partly in verse; but as we define poetry now, not by rhyme and meter but as a patterned intensity of language, the whole thing is poetry. I wanted to catch that poetry, its terse, strange beauty. Most translations have caught meanings in their net, but prosily, letting the beauty slip through. And in poetry, beauty is no ornament; it is the meaning. It is the truth.

Ursula K. Le Guin, A BOOK ABOUT THE WAY AND THE POWER OF THE WAY, on the legacy of Lao Tzu’s TAO TE CHING



The Prompter Room

For Friday, December 18, 2015:


“When writers die they become books, which is, after all, not too bad an incarnation.”

Jorge Luis Borges

There’s something about this idea that really appeals to me.  It makes me wonder which book I will become – one of mine or someone else’s? – and will I be with others in a library, and who will I be next to in the stacks?

Maybe I’ve intuited this all along and that’s why I love libraries and bookstores so much.  I will always remember the thrill of being in the presence of centuries of greatness when I had the opportunity to set foot in the library of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.  When I found the section of and gazed upon the collection of scrolls and surely I could even smell the thoughts and questions, the poetry and plays that still lived in those earliest of books.  Talk about a little piece of heaven on earth!

Natalie Goldberg has said that “Writers live twice.”  That’s a pretty impressive legacy.