I am gratified by this gift of encouragement from the panel and honored to be in the company of present and past NEA Fellows. This fellowship is the two-out, two-strike base hit that I needed. It's a good thing, and I hope to make it better by completing a fourth book of poems.
I will work hard and take the following quotation from Stanley Kunitz to heart: "When you look back on a lifetime and think of what has been given to the world by your presence, inevitably, you think of your art, whatever it may be, as the gift you have made to the world in acknowledgment of the gift you have been given, which is the life itself...That work is not an expression of the desire for praise and recognition, or prizes, but the deepest manifestation of your gratitude for the gift of life."
A Lesson for the 21st Century
The ancient Romans would carve the names
of their enemies on lead tablets.
These were called
curse tablets. The custom was
for the carver to toss the tablet
into his own well. They didn't know.
They poisoned themselves with their own hatred.