Walking Light: Essays and Memoirs
by Stephen Dunn
A few years ago poet Stephen Dunn discovered an inclination to be an essayist, "a person who believes there's value in being overheard clarifying ... Show synopsis A few years ago poet Stephen Dunn discovered an inclination to be an essayist, "a person who believes there's value in being overheard clarifying things for himself." As he turned to prose writing and the collection grew, Dunn found himself blending thoughts about poetry with musings about his own early experience. Five essays explore the mysteries of composition, the problems and latitudes the poet faces, and the ways in which poetry confers value. The rest are essay-memoirs, touching upon such diverse subjects as basketball, gambling, storytelling, and silence. Though anecdotal, each memoir relates to the poetic mentality. How one walks in a dangerous neighborhood can be analogous to how one moves in a poem. And if one survives the silence of shyness, Dunn convinces us, it can be a storehouse of the unspoken. The title is derived from William Meredith's "Crossing Over." Meredith's speaker, on an ice floe in the middle of a river, says, "I love this fool's walk./ The thing we have to learn is how to walk light."