THE HOUSE BY THE SEA: A Journal, November 1974-August 1976 by May Sarton

THE HOUSE BY THE SEA: A Journal, November 1974-August 1976

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KIRKUS REVIEW

I am far happier now, but in some ways less alive, and I miss that acute aliveness. I enjoy everything tremendously--the sea, the flowers, my life here, the animals--but I am seldom at the pitch of ecstasy, and I sometimes feel that my mind itself has lost its edge."" Life in York, Maine, several years after the New Hampshire Journal of a Solitude--poetry diminished (""I never imagined that river could go dry--but it has""); perceptions temporarily dulled by a lingering virus, then restored to familiar acuity; recurrent brooding on aging and ""the fear of death. . . or rather, I should say, the fear of dying in some inappropriate or gruesome way."" In the earlier days of this two-year period, a search for equilibrium, for uninterruption dominates: ""It is not that I work all day; it is that the work needs space around it."" A large correspondence, uninvited visitors, too many weeds among the marigolds disrupt and interfere. Later, despite the deaths of cherished friends, the drift into senility of others (including a longtime companion), the intense, intrepid Sarton emerges: warming to friends and fine conversation, railing against ""the slack self-indulgent stuff that passes for poetry these days,"" flourishing from honors accorded, sharing her singular views--spring flowers in a snowstorm, a gray and rosy sunrise, wineglass elms in the distance. An urgent press for self-discovery, contemplative and ""on the pulse.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1977
Publisher: Norton