[…] it is not possible to get outside the age you are in to judge it exactly. Indeed it is as dangerous to try to get outside of anything as large as an age as it would be to engorge a donkey. Witness the many who in the attempt have suffered a dilation from which the tissues and the muscles of the mind have never been able to recover natural shape. They can’t pick up anything delicate or small any more. They can’t use a pen. They have to use a typewriter. And they gape in agony. They can write huge shapeless novels, huge gobs of raw sincerity bellowing with pain and that’s all they can write.
[…] When in doubt there is always form for us to go on with. […] The artist[,] the poet[,] might be expected to be the most aware of such assurance. But it is really everybody’s sanity to feel it and live by it. Fortunately, too, no forms are more engrossing[,] gratifying, comforting, staying than those lesser ones we throw off, like vortex rings of smoke, all our individual enterprise and needing nobody’s cooperation; a basket, a letter, a room, an idea, a picture, a poem. For these we haven’t to get a team together before we can play.
The background in hugeness and confusion shading away from where we stand into black and utter chaos; and against the background any small man-made figure of order and concentration. What pleasanter than that this should be so? Unless we are novelists or economists we don’t worry about this confusion; we look out on [it] with an instrument or tackle it to reduce it. […]
—Robert Frost, “Letter to The Amherst Student,” March 25, 1935. Selected Prose (Holt, 1966).
In response to the newspaper having sent the poet congratulations on his birthday. (Or Beckettian? Either way.)