Columns by Linda Pastan

The Anxiety of Influence,  Part I


My husband is a scientist/physician, and our eldest child has become a doctor. My middle child is a chef—half science, half art. But it was only when my youngest child became a writer that I started to worry about this genetic thing: were they programmed to follow our footsteps, or was it our example, our influence that determined which paths they chose? Why was I not disturbed by any of this until my daughter Rachel became a writer?

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Poetic Sabbatical


When I think about my childhood, the years divide themselves into ordinary time, bounded by school, and vacation time—as if the two periods were of equal length. For a poet who lives a somewhat solitary existence in the Maryland woods, today’s vacations provide me with an alternative kind of life, restoring my often flagging creative energy. Perhaps that’s why they too seem longer than they really are.

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