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From a former Poet Laureate, a brand new selection of essays providing a gloriously unexpected view from the vantage aspect of very outdated age
 
Donald corridor has lived a extraordinary lifetime of letters, a profession capped by way of a countrywide Medal of the humanities, offered through the president. Now, within the “unknown, unanticipated galaxy” of very outdated age, he's writing looking out essays that startle, circulate, and pleasure. within the transgressive and horrifyingly humorous “No Smoking,” he appears to be like again over his lifetime, and several other of his ancestors’ lifetimes, of smoking unfiltered cigarettes, packs of them on a daily basis. corridor paints his prior: “Decades one another — thirty used to be terrifying, 40 I by no means spotted simply because i used to be inebriated, fifty used to be top with a complete switch of lifestyles, sixty prolonged the bliss of 50 . . .” And, poignantly, frequently joyfully, he limns his current: “When I became 80 and rubbed testosterone on my chest, my beard roared like a lion and won 4 inches.” such a lot memorably, corridor writes approximately his enduring love affair together with his ancestral Eagle Pond Farm and with the writing lifestyles that sustains him, each day: “Yesterday my first nap used to be at 9:30 a.m., but if I woke up I wrote again.”

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As soon as i used to be a panelist, and my residence choked with bins of deplorable books nominated—because anyone can nominate anyone for a Pulitzer. In Michigan I knew younger poets, untalented associates who released one another and nominated one another frequently for the Pulitzer Prize. Their ebook jackets famous the honour. Like an fool, i used to be flattered at the beginning to get honorary levels. Donors to a faculty obtain such a lot unearned doctorates, yet educational associations try and hide their fundraising via adorning a number of cultural or political figures. I sweated in cap and costume less than the solar listening to graduates’ names pompously uttered. I sat beside governmental stars and we chattered approximately politics whereas ex-students crossed a degree shaking palms and clutching certificate. whilst cheers rang out for a sorority queen or a soccer captain, we middle-aged honorees clapped and dehydrated. yet i used to be now not working for workplace, and that i wearied of accepting doctorates, dishonored via honor. Upstairs there continues to be a hat rack of robes crowned with caps beside a desk keeping dusty diplomas. The poet Geoffrey Hill has addressed me as “Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. Dr. ” I declare it an honor that during 1975 I gave up lifetime tenure, scientific bills, and a pension in alternate for 40 joyous years of freelance writing. One children’s e-book received a Caldecott, and may remain in print after the remainder of my issues aren't any longer on hand. I wrote poetry, yet no longer for financial present. For loan and foodstuff I produced journal items approximately baseball and New Hampshire. i couldn't do it now. merely the recent Yorker is still between magazines that pay sufficient to note. Esquire and the Atlantic and Harper’s start to cave in like Godey’s Lady’s ebook. good, Playboy survives. the great factor is that Playboy will pay; the undesirable factor is that not anyone reads it. Perpetual falling down isn't a dishonor rather a lot as an obstacle. On an afternoon while Jane was once alive I took Gus for a stroll. He wrapped his leash round me and that i fell face-first within the driveway’s gravel. I placed the puppy again in the home, wrapped a towel round my cheeks, wrote Jane a note—she used to be lunching with a friend—and drove to Emergency because the towel sopped up blood. while Dr. Yuskaitis had got rid of 100 and forty-seven specks of gravel from my face, grappling together with his sterile tweezers, he remarked, “How tedious. ” Ten years after Jane died, I met Linda at a church supper poetry examining. The day sooner than, I had fallen over an ottoman to crack my ribs and blacken my eye. over again i used to be working to the auto to force with Linda to a restaurant and my correct foot tripped over a brick. “It’s okay,” I stated. “It doesn’t damage. Let’s visit Piero’s. ” i used to be interrupted via blood flowing down my face, and we sped to Emergency. Linda used to be appalled. It was once a pity to overlook Piero’s luganiga, yet at the very least I obtained a loose haircut and a collection of stitches. as soon as in an airport I rigorously sat down, awaiting baggage, on a bench that used to be no longer there. In new york I emerged from a theater with my daughter and her relations. i used to be working clear of The Lion King and scrambled in the back of a lady who regrettably dragged a suitcase.

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