On how our brains and bodies find pleasure in poetry. Advertisements
A conversation with the MacArthur-winning poet and novelist.
As winter begins to shut down on us like the white lid of a box, so too death is shutting down on my mother, bringing an end to her story. Death is something we don’t give much thought to anymore. Besides for our loved ones, we pay little attention to people once they grow to a certain age, and once death comes to knock they have already practically disappeared from our society’s conscience. Meant to spur on a belief in God, medieval reminders of death – like the memento mori in artworks — lasted through the Victorian era as moralizing aides-mémoires that life is short and the afterlife is infinite. The Ash Wednesday proclamation, “Remember, Man, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return” attempted to convey the absolute lack of power humans have within the scheme of history. With death ever looming we should think about the afterlife.