If, as Samuel Beckett wrote, all poetry is prayer, my devotions began in earnest thirty-some years ago when a habit of reading poems begat the practice of writing them. Writers are readers who go karaoke—first humming along, then singing along, then making up plainchants that sound like their own.
Raised as a Catholic, I grew up associating food with forgiveness, confession with Communion, and I had taken up my father’s undertaking and ran the family mortuary. So among my earliest...
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