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Reciting “Throwing Away the Mail” by Wendell Berry



Poetry Lunch S4E5

Reciting “Throwing Away the Mail” by Wendell Berry, from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, Counterpoint.


I forgot! Got deep in a conversation about things having nothing to do with poetry, or lunch. Then remembered lunch and then remembered it’s Tuesday.

I don’t know when I first encountered this poem, I think I was in highschool still. I do know it astonished me the first time I read it. The idea that you actually could throw away mail without opening it. I was raised Catholic so guilt comes natural to me and also I’ve always carried a hyper-responsibility. I’m not sure why a sense of obligation comes so naturally to me but wow does it. On my less-than-great days, ones where I feel mildly depressed and overwhelmed, I think it’s obligation that often pulls me through and gets me going, so it’s not like it’s an all-bad trait. But it does mean I probably carry a lot more anxiety and stress than I need to on the daily.

Anyway. What have you tried to simplify lately that wasn’t simple? I feel I’m failing at that all the time but at least I’ve got the reminder.


Link to purchase

Get the book: The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry.