Reflections on the Passing of John Updike
by Ronald Frederick Price
Saturday, January 31, 2009
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A PORTRAIT, a reflection on John Updike on his passing in January 2009
Price’s poetic autobiography allowed, provided the context, for the coming together of the many people that he was. It would help, he theorized, to populate the annals of literature at some future time with a graspable, somewhat provocative and interesting, personality. The often meagre, sometimes detailed and practical, facts of a man’s life, his thoughts and theories, help to trace the connections between different parts of a life, thereby telling the reader something about the nature of artistic creation and, in the case of Price, providing a portrait of an ordinary, humble member of the Baha’i community who was fortunate enough to be an international pioneer at a critical juncture of his religion’s history. -Ron Price with thanks to John Updike, “Literary Biosphere”, The Australian Review of Books, February 1999, p.27.
I desire to tell of these times,
to colour, paint, these days,
with an intimate portrait so
that they may live on and
enrich and ennoble lives and
future days, so they may partake
of these days, a different angle make,
a certain intensity, light and colouration,
the corners, a countenance, one neighbour’s
horizons, any waste of lives, a renunciation—
a piercing virtue—a choosing against itself—
in the name of a larger function, a vision
covered with all that is right here1
and something more: memory so dear.
1 March 1999
1 Emily Dickinson’s poem number 745 says a great deal about renunciation. Some of her ideas are incorporated into the four lines of this poem before the last line.
Pioneering Over Four Epochs
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|Reviewed by Richard Bowers
Unpardon me but I relent it boldly;
For it is far ahead, if I can be sure of it,
And far it is, that my hallucination be valid,
And hallucination it is, as it should be,
And however, unlike itself, mysterious, unknown, and untested,
So it be foreseen in my tireless search.