I was going to make a line from High Windows, by Philip Larkin, the new What Do You Want On Your Tombstone for this site, but have decided, instead, on the twenty-six letters of the alphabet, arranged in the un-ergonomic order of the keyboard. Text, text, text.
High Windows is the first anything I encountered that made me aware that there might be something greater than, or beyond, the artistic mega-vitality of words – something that could not be expressed in words. (And what is that, Philip? Sex! Sex without societal constraints!)
Before I read High Windows, I used to write A WORD IS WORTH A THOUSAND PICTURES on my notebooks, like a radical textualist. After that poem, my notion of textual-artistic dominance was troubled.
My nineteen-year-old response to the poem, which, unfortunately, I remember, reads like this: “Yes. Rather than words. Because WORDS ARE THE DEFAULT FOR WHAT MUST BE THERE. Yes, yes, yes.”