For along time, I've felt James Taylor and I are spiritual brothers. Even though Taylor was born in Boston and I in Dallas, the former grew up in North Carolina and I in Kansas. His father was a physcian, mine an attorney. Taylor attended Milton Academy, I graduated from Andover. Taylor began to experience serious emotional problems in prep school; I had to drop out of law school when I could not sleep. We are both in our 70s now, I a bit older than he. Taylor spent time in several psychiatric hospitals in and around New England. I spent a couple of years at Menningers, ironically only a half block from where I grew up. Taylor learned how to play the guitar and began to sing the songs he composed. I, in turn, began to write poetry when in therapy I discovered I had feellngs--my own feelings--and when they unconsciously married my intellect, and out popped my first poem: WHAT A GOOD LITTLE BOY. Many others were to fellow, but all my poems write themselves. I can still feel when a poem is rising up within me. It feels like a Kundalini arising. My job is only to "record" it, which is to say, grab a pencil or a pen, perhaps a tpyewritter, now a deskstop computer. Each poem begins in my unconscious where lie all its components--syntax, diction, all my emotions:--then moves into my subconscious, and finally into my conscious mind. And that's the moment I have to "record" it, because if I don't do that immediately, my poem floats into the infinite Cosmos never to be found again. Writing a poem is like making love: if you have to force it, stop. Poetry is like the ocean wind: it blows only for those sails that are open. My sense is that Taylor has a similar experience when he composes. That's why I feel he and I are spiritual brothers.
TOD HOWARD HAWKS