When people say “I’ve stopped living” do they mean that they’re numb with grief? In dire health? Having menopause? Continually drugged or drunk? But these conditions are part of living, they just don’t revolve around love affairs or money. What’s more, all artists “stop living” in order to comment on living. Art is a suspension of life. You can’t write a poem about tears in your eyes with tears in your eyes, the salt water would smudge the ink.

Nevertheless, I’ve stopped living. For nothing counts anymore: certainly not that paragraph.

Only connect? Nothing connects, yet everything’s the same, including the big indifferent sky.

When Louis Auchincloss phoned to ask if I’d accept the nomination for presidency of the Academy [of Arts and Letters], I thought he was joking. After all, this was a responsible grown-up job, while I picture myself as pre-adolescent. But, of course, although not all children are artists, all artists are children insofar as they see the Open without the res…