Where you live: the third world village of rural South Carolina
What you do as a vocation or avocation? I was a professor, distinguished professor actually, of comparative literature, poetics and creative writing for 34 years at a major midwestern university. I am still a writer, though more a sometime writer now than the obsessive writer I was.
Your two favorite books: I think I have at least 22 favorites. Maybe 42 or 102. One of my current favorites is Assia Djebar’s Fantasia: An Algerian Calvacade. One of my perennial favorites is Sir Philip Sydney’s sonnet sequence, Astrophel and Stella.
Your two favorite cd’s: Again, multiple favs. Classical current favorite: Faure’s Requiem. Soundtrack: The Mission. Dance (tango): Carlos Gardenal (oooolllld recording), who invented what is now known as tango music.
Why you are interested in spirituality? I am interested in everything regarding the body-mind continuum (entity?), in all things cognitive, particularly in hunches and insights and epiphanies and dreams; and I am interested in all things literary and artistic and in various ways to think about these things, about the forms of human conception/poetics. The spiritual may be such a form, a poetics of insight.
Your favorite quote: Rilke: “Warte.” (Wait)
Your favorite web sites: don’t have favorites.
Your hero? Either nobody or too many to list one. Perhaps my father, because he was so terrible in so many ways but aged well, after much tragedy and pain, and always had such joie de vivre, even at 91 with everything in the world wrong with him and in such terrible pain, and such love. He taught me a great deal about love, as I did him. Definitely my cousin, an 86 year old child polio victim, who was at Roosevelt’s Little White House at Warm Srpings, who was also my high school English teacher, who has endured more suffering with more joy and practical wisdom than anyone I have ever met. Also my high school math teacher for my four years of math.
A spiritual lesson you hope to learn? Well, I would like to learn one. But if I said what it was–could articulate what it was– I wanted to learn, then I would not trust that I ever learned it. I do not think we are wise enough to project what we need to learn. If we can project that, we have probably either already learned it, or have already unconsciously decided not to. My spiritual lessons have all come at GREAT cost, great loss, great pain, and I would never ask for that willingly in order to learn anything at all.
A place in the world where you feel spiritually “connected?” Anywhere and nowhere. Often in books or writing.