|irk has always been suspicious of writers’ biographies.
Unnecessary, he thought. It’s the work that matters, not the author.
Biographies, he sneered, intrusive annotations.
[And this despite his infatuation with any and all footnotes.]
Dirk longed to be as anonymous as the Pearl Poet who left behind a single sublime manuscript.
But not his name.
Unfortunately, Dirk discovered, biographies were inevitable. One of the prices exacted by those magazines that published his poems.
Might as well make the best of it, Dirk sighed.
Have a little fun.
His first writer’s bio, for instance, took an extreme minimalist route:
“Dirk Stratton was born in 1957. Not dead yet.”
A bio Dirk could live with.
But the expletive deleted editor apparently couldn’t.
He edited it! Added some breezy transitional jokiness.
[Though, in retrospect, Dirk decided the bio could have used some editing. He had not been minimal enough. Why did anyone need to know the year he was born?]
Dirk began to understand all the correspondence he had read as an undergraduate majoring in English in which aggrieved authors went ballistic over editor interference.
Anyway, how to cope with the inevitable?
Dirk admired Basil Bunting’s approach. Bunting suggested that his epitaph read:
“A minor poet, not conspicuously dishonest.”
(Or something close to that.)
So in that vein:
“Dirk Stratton, a minor poet of some consequence. If his writing succeeded at all, it was the result of his never-ending apprenticeship.”
Oh, and Dirk always hoped that the Unknown would contain more sections like carswedrove.htm and vegasexpense.htm.
He had his chance.
But this biography probably doesn’t qualify.