Geoffrey Fox

Reflections & Inquiries

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”


Let us go and make our visit.

This last year has been one of many visits, as well as books read, plays and movies seen, friends and family embraced.

We began with a return to Susana’s homeland, Argentina, terribly hot in January. There we met and feasted with her cousins in Puan— her birthplace, a remote village in the unending Pampa — , more family and friends in La Plata, Tucumán and Buenos Aires, all coping more or less creatively in a country whose fabled prosperity is now a distant memory.  Then on to Bolivia for both adventure and pleasure: Santa Cruz, El Alto, La Paz, Sucre, Potosí, as Susana has described in her Voyage to Bolivia.

Then in April we flew from Madrid to New York City to see friends, museums, and theater. And from there to New Mexico, for the 80th birthday celebration of a very dear friend, one of Susana’s oldest (in both senses) in the U.S., and thence to Arizona, to see my sons and celebrate our daughter-in-law’s birthday.

Then back to Spain, and a month later, to Belgium — another new country to both of us — and The Netherlands: see my series of notes, In the Low Countries.

And in October, an all-too brief but very rewarding first visit to Copenhagen: see my Impressions of Denmark.

After hobbling along with hip pain on all these trips, upon our return to Madrid from Denmark I finally had my left hip replaced by a very fine surgeon. With all this travel and then the hospital stay and recovery (now well advanced, thank you), plus the year’s end festivities,  I regret to report only modest progress on my fiction, except for reading and notes.

But I have been able to return to another literary practice too long abandoned, memorizing poems, learning new ones and recovering favorites that I had nearly forgotten. There is one in particular whose complexity of assonance and imagery delights me in a different way each time I run through it in my mind.

Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

As for my novel, I promise that it will be done soon. It may not bring me fame, but then,

 Who can remember back to the first poets,
The greatest ones, greater even than Orpheus? …
So lofty and disdainful of renown
They left us not a name to know them by.


T. S. Eliot, “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock”; Howard Nemerov, “The Makers”

Susana & Geoff, New Year's Eve 2017-2018