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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

From "Letters to Young Poets"

by David Lehman*

Dear friends. There will come a time when someone else will win the prize that you deserved, or the job you coveted, or the publication you were banking on. It might even be the person sitting next to you right now. And you will feel envy, you will feel resentment--you wouldn't be human if you didn't. But you cannot afford to give in to these feelings, because envy and resentment, if allowed to fester, can turn easily into bitterness and even spite, and these things are poison to a writer. To ward them off, you will need to go deeper into yourself, into your heart. You will need to remember that awards and publications and jobs--great as they are to achieve--are not the reason you undertook to do this work in the first place.

*Published in Teachers & Writers Magazine, Nov/Dec 2003. I have quoted this poem here once before.

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