Hey, Professor of English Helen Vendler: you recently mentioned that modern poets, unlike poets in the past, have no afterlife in which to place themselves or a journey to look forward to. How does this affect their takes on life, as well as death?
“The most eloquent poems are those that give credence to three things: the fact of extinction, the fact of aspiration, and the fact of failure in the aspiration. Failure can generate a comic view. It can put you in the human context of others, not judging solely by aspiration, but by the degree to which you and others have failed...There is a big push when you’re young to become yourself, and then you realize that no matter what you’ve done, you’re mortal and unsuccessful. That unites you to the sorrows and predicaments of others.”