Today’s Writers Almanac contains a fan letter from one poet to another. Coincidentally, my poetry group prompt was to write a fan letter poem, or write about a fan. So, I’m posting first the poem from Writer’s Almanac followed by the poem I wrote. Then I welcome your comments and/or your own fan letter poems if you’ve a mind to write them, or any fan letters you’ve ever wanted to write to people or things you’re a fan of. Wanna play? Let’s!
TO HAYDEN CARRUTH
by Wendell Berry
Dear Hayden, when I read your book I was aching
in head, back, heart, and mind, and aching
with your aches added to my own, and yet for joy
I read on without stopping, made eager
by your true mastery, wit, sorrow, and joy,
each made true by the others. My reading done,
I swear I am feeling better. Here in Port Royal
I take off my hat to you up there in Munnsville
in vour great dignity of being necessary. I swear
it appears to me you’re one of the rare fellows
who may finally amount to something. What shall
I say? I greet you at the beginning of a great career?
No. I greet you at the beginning, for we are
either beginning or we are dead. And let us have
no careers, lest one day we be found dead in them.
I greet you at the beginning that you have made
authentically in your art, again and again.
“To Hayden Carruth” by Wendell Berry from New Collected Poems. © Counterpoint Press, 2012.
FAN BASE by Sandra de Helen
August 3, 2015
Dear Angela Davis, for years I fancied
myself your near twin, my having been
born exactly one week ahead of you. I
followed your career in the newspapers,
worn a button as big as my upraised
fist in support of your freedom, cut and
permed my blond hair trying to mimic
your Afro. I read your work, embraced
your politics, married a man of your
color, whom I met when I hung out with
former prisoners who called themselves
humanists. I was in college, writing a
political column, studying Economics,
being as much like you as I was able.
Unlike you, I was beat down by my
man. Defeated, shamed. It took me
years to rebuild my strong feminist
voice, even more years to embrace my
fellow man once again. But you, I have
always loved you, Ms. Angela Davis. Your
life and your words continue to inspire.