Letters

Three-generation household: expansive experience for all

In reference to the Aug. 22 article "Three generations, one home": My mother, my wife, our two children, and I have been living in the same household for over five years. Sharing a home has enabled all of us to live in a house and in an area we could not have afforded individually.

My wife and I grew up being very close to our grandparents, and we felt this was an important and essential tradition to continue for our children, who are getting a much more well-rounded view of the world by living with two generations. We also feel we are making a small contribution to the environment by occupying one less house and using one less refrigerator and one less washer and dryer!

Most important, our living arrangement teaches all of us selflessness, tolerance, flexibility, and an appreciation of one another - qualities in short supply in today's self-absorbed society.
Rick Soule
South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

A poet's epiphany - and its later fruit

While I was gratified to read Elizabeth Lund's review of my edition of the letters of the late poet Amy Clampitt ("Politics, purses, poetry: the letters of a poet," Aug. 23), I wish to make one correction.

Ms. Lund remarks that nowhere in the letters do we find an epiphany that reveals to us, and to Ms. Clampitt, that poems are what she was intended to write. But in the remarkable letter of March 17, 1956, Clampitt describes a moment of clarity and grace, experienced during a Sunday trip to the Cloisters in Manhattan.

She is moved by the tapestries, by the recorded Mass, and finds herself taken out of her self. Later on, she begins to record the experience in her journal and, without her knowing it, she says the prose she is writing begins - of its own accord - to break into lines of verse, and rhymes begin to come, virtually of their own accord. It is both terrifying and confirming.

This moment was certainly her adult initiation into poetry, even though the resulting poem was not very good. Twenty years would elapse before she found her true voice and style, but the initiation was there in her 36th year. "Love, Amy" is full of moments such as these, especially in the earliest letters, before Clampitt became busy with political protest and then, finally, with poetry itself.
Willard Spiegelman
Dallas

Safeguarding food supply hits home

Your Aug. 17 editorial, "Protecting Food From Terrorists," leaves me wondering why you did not carry the argument for decentralizing livestock "operations" to its logical conclusion, since in the past the Monitor has often published articles about the multiple advantages of sustainable, regional agriculture. Knowing where one's food is grown, and by whom, is the ultimate safeguard of one's food supply, as growers all across the country will be happy to confirm.
Fred Maier
Atwater, Ohio

Marketing antithetical to Jesus's ministry

Regarding the Aug. 19 article "Churches seeking marketing-savvy breed of pastor": I, for one, want to stand up and decry this new alleged movement toward "marketing" the message of Jesus. As someone who has taught various courses in mass communications at the University of California, Berkeley, over many years, I find it appalling that the same techniques used to sell soap have come to be used to sell presidential candidates, and have now been co-opted by professors of the faith.

Jesus was clear about approaching people with his message in a way that would meet their particular conditions/circumstances, and would never have promoted the idea of "selling" himself to get their audience.
Nicola Bourne
Berkeley, Calif.

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