Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

David Huddle: Composition as Ethical Inquiry

A man who has faith, intelligence, and cultivation will show that in his work.

–Walker Evans

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.

–Hunter S. Thompson

The welcome universe, the rain that sounded through the world of apples had vanished. Filth was his destiny, his best self, and he began with relish a long ballad called The Fart that Saved Athens.

–John Cheever: “The World of Apples”

 .

When this cultivated man sits down to explicate

a particularly exquisite Henry James paragraph,

after hours of stillness, he understands he prefers

silence to the tepid brilliance of James’s prose.

 

A man who loathes himself sits down to chronicle his

fistfights, his betrayals of friends, family, and many

a good woman–then finds himself humming Amazing Grace

and writing prayers for prisoners on death row in America.

 

In her writing classes, Deborah Eisenberg says again

and again, “The sentence, the sentence, the sentence.”

Impartial, merciless, it will have its way with you.

In the chamber of diction and syntax the truth of you

 

shall be revealed: artist, monk, assassin, penitent,

athlete, nurse, dancer, perfect fool of a president.


 

Copyright 2018 David Huddle

David Huddle is the author of many books of poetry, including The Faulkes Chronicle (Tupelo Press).

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