THE No one comes here to learn anything else, or less, or more
what we teach.
They all want to be better off for it,
to know its applications, to grow
from the experience, to go through
What we offer
is the fact that it hurts
and is not the same as pleasure.
is not pain.
-- Donna Brook
No one comes here to learn
anything else, or less, or more
I started out as an admirer of Donna Brook’s poetry and then
I became an admirer of Donna Brook, so, in addition to being her editor, I
became her husband. Just to make that
The School of Pain appeared in Fall 1982. In the poetry world, Big-Time Suffering still had its ardent fans: Finish eating your depression stew, dear; it will make your poems grow up big and strong. We still got lots of Dear Sylvia and Dear Anne poems from young women longing to be miserable. The boys had to dress up as Berryman and Lowell.
Of course the idea that agony is ennobling goes far beyond
the making of poems. It’s still with us
in relentless daily news reports – the guy who thinks he’s a better person
because he’s had stomach cancer, the hollow-eyed saint, the uncomplaining
amputee, the positive thinker being chewed on by tiger. If it really worked that way, there would,
indeed, be a real
-- Robert Hershon