170.1: Garth Graeper:: Letters to Dorothy Wordsworth & The English Lakes
12 May 2014
In this series of letters and poems by Garth Graeper, one could return to the discussion of the relationship of William and Dorothy Wordsworth and specifically of William's poems circumscribing Dorothy out of his lyric, Romantic visions. One could discuss Graeper's own circumscription, calling for Dorothy to enter his lyric circle and ostensibly leaving William out in the cold. But as we read these letters and lyric poems, what we realize is that Graeper himself is not the one setting the boundaries of circumscription. Rather, it is Dorothy who has drawn the circle and Graeper who is wandering (writing) within that line: "Dorothy, I hope you will see these poems as a longing and as a record of kinship. I have always had trouble keeping myself in my writing, but your journals changed something. After walking away again and again from dismembered texts, I find myself still carrying your words with me, below the surface, like flashes of memory." We could look at this acknowledgment and say Hey, let's return to William, let's look and see how he writes within the world Dorothy delimits! But why return agency in this process to William? Haven't, for the moment at least, we said enough about him and his poems? Instead, Graeper asks us to consider Dorothy as the high point of inspiration, as the end point of the English Romantic creation: "Isn’t that what we want? A stranger, more splendid world."