When Enough Is Enough: Age and the Creative Impulse

Some years ago, a good friend was asked by The Paris Review to conduct one of their long interviews with a much older, much venerated writer. She’s done her best work, said the Review editor, so it’s time to interview her.

I was not yet old myself when I heard the story, but it stayed with me, a sort of memento mori with its sweeping surety, the surety of a dairy farmer surveying his cows with dog food in mind. Would such an editor, I wondered, have fingered Yeats during what might have been considered a career lull? Before, say, he came to his wonderful poems of old age?

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