We asked Richard Williams, THE SUN’s poetry editor, to assess the literary magazines published in and near Chapel Hill.
A friend comes to my home. She tells me that she is very mad, and her mouth forms a tense but full smile. Another conversation, the person tells me that he is feeling “good, real fine.” His eyes make no contact with mine, his brow is furrowed, his body appears stiff. At a party, a recent acquaintance says that she would like to get to know me better. Her arms and legs are crossed, and she is leaning away from me.
For years, I spent an hour every morning with The New York Times. It wasn’t that different from repeating a mantra or concentrating on the breath. Stories, like thoughts, would come and go; in time, it dawned on me that “objectivity” was pure myth, since no two people, journalists included, see the same event in the same way. The line between reality and illusion became increasingly watery — there were demons and avenging angels everywhere, on the corners of Harlem and on the campus of Kent State; America was drowning in the shallows of its own dream. The writing on the wall said it all; who needed The Times?
When I have a problem, I sometimes have difficulty owning up to it. It’s much easier to say, “He’s screwed up to get in my way like that,” or “How can they treat me that way?” And this only intensifies my problem. I alienate myself from others and at the same time allow my head (intellect) to separate itself from my guts (feelings).