In a writing style that may offer a glimpse of the tapestries woven on the looms of Athena and Arachne, Willis Barnstone presents a seamless tale of the first years of his life that moves as naturally from prose to poetry and back as day moves to night.Focusing on the five years Barnstone spent following his graduation from Bowdoin College living, thinking, and beginning to write in France, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, and England from 1948 to 1953, this fascinating and moving memoir nonetheless expands beyond those years. On one side of that period are the poet and translator s grandparents immigration to the United States, his parents stormy relationship and his father s eventual suicide, his childhood growing up in the apartment building where Babe Ruth lived, his first gestures toward a life of poetry in Hawthorne s room at Bowdoin, and his first acquaintance with cultures other than his own while digging privies for Mexican peasants during a year off from college. On the other side of that period are Barnstone s continuing life as the gypsy scholar in China, Tibet, Turkey, and Argentina and his continuing friendship with his children and former wife and the finest writers and artists the world over."A year in Paris is good to have when one is twenty. Ernest Hemingway went there when he was twenty-one and stayed five years. He was married, poor, earning a living as a writer. He had some good things and some bad things to say about Gertrude Stein who accused him of being a member of a lost generation. I also stayed five years, but shared it with other countries. I could have happily stayed another year or two in Paris, my French was good, I was writing. But I was just married and wasn t a newspaperman to support my wife on newspaper articles. And so I went to Greece where I could get a job. I suppose I could have hung on in Paris, as I did in Mexico, and each day in Paris the city and the friends meant more to me. But Greece was not only a job. It was a light. I didn t know what kind of light, but it was a light I knew.""
Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
Number of pages: 280
Weight: 522 g
Dimensions: 241 x 159 x 19 mm