Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I was really onto something. In the summer of 1951, not long after entering adolescence, I was sitting with a pad and a pen at a fold-out table in a compartment on a steam-driven train to London from Liverpool, where that morning the small Cunard liner Parthia had docked. It was my first time abroad and I was entranced with the countryside we traversed – the almost unbelievably intense green hills and the big pastel skies and actual English sheep. Something out of dreams that made me feel anything was possible. What I was seeing seemed a match for pictures I has found in Life of a recently rediscovered American painter named Ryder. And even more it connected up with for the Romanic poets that I had been reading at boarding school as if my actual life depended on them. This landscape and my attempt to recreate it in words on paper was outside my direct experience and was something I wanted badly.