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Do you know what would hold me together on a battlefield? The sense that I was perpetuating the language in which Keats and the rest of them wrote!
All my early books are written as if I were Indian. In England, I had started writing as if I were English; now I write as if I were American. You take other people's backgrounds and characters; Keats called it negative capability.
I attended school regularly for three years. I learned to read and write. 'Lamb's Tales' from Shakespeare was my favourite reading matter. I stole, by finding, Palgrave's 'Golden Treasury.' These two books, and the 'Everyman' edition of John Keats, were my proudest and dearest possessions, my greatest wealth.
When I read Andrew Motion's biography, I wept. It's something about the purity of the story and how fresh it was because of the love letters Keats wrote.
Eight years ago, I was drawn into Keats's world by Andrew Motion's biography. Soon I was reading back and forth between Keats's letters and his poems. The letters were fresh, intimate and irreverent, as though he were present and speaking. The Keats spell went very deep for me.