His novels are often wildly funny, with a kind of humor that is even more striking on a second reading, once it has had time to sink in. He is not the life of the party, but the enormously funny little man off in the corner whom only a few people know about.
The poet has a mind capable of raising for us all crops of words, dense with meaning, rich in symbols, exactly expressive for us all of what our lives are like, what our human condition means, what we feel, why we keep struggling, why we sometimes can’t go on.
The rising lust for smoking tobacco made Durham and Duke. In 1870, a year after it was incorporated, the one-square mile village had a population of 256. There were 3,000 residents by 1884, 6,679 by 1900, and an estimated 18,000 by 1907.
He is a poet of immediacy, of the nearness of all things to us in the inner and outer worlds, and of those things we bury, by our blindness, in the rich compost of our lives. When I experience a Bly poem, I enter the miraculous energy of life and the awesome closeness and beauty of death.
Every poet, when he grows up in this country, has to face that issue. Is he going to go with the English or is he going to go against them? It takes a long time to fight that out. I, myself, was with the English three or four years after I got out of college. I was writing sonnets.
His poems entered his conversation almost unannounced, and you were unsure whether he was still talking or had started on a poem, a seeming change in his bodily weight sometimes the only clue (he began that weightless dance with every poem).