For Bill Nestrick (1940-96)
Out of the rectitude and narrow care of those who
teach in the public schools,—
who would not let her son watch cartoons of
Porky Pig because we must
not laugh at someone who stutters,—
… the mystery, your brilliant
appetite for the moment.
For Herbert, the aesthetic desideratum is
unpremeditated art, not as "natural" or "spontaneous"
but a speaking of the Spirit as it becomes
conscious, a fidelity to
the moment itself. The only
appropriate gift is discovered to be
the giver, for man can only give himself.
In 1975, the magazine that printed your great essay
announced: He is writing a book on Herbert.
Frank Bidart's most recent book of poems is Star Dust.