(1) Image & Melos: a Letter, 1960, to Robert Duncan [From New York City] September 27, 1960
... following with great interest your interchange with Kelly. On the basis of your first letter to reach here (only one I’ve seen, other 2 being described) I feel no real disagreement as to melos, etc., being other vehicles for manifestation of “floating world” (source) within the poem, tho if you define yourself as a poet of “word-magic” primarily, my own direction in these last years has probably been toward “image-magic”— yet it doesn’t seem to me that any of the “powers” are totally to be denied, nor can they where the poem is allowed to happen.
The first traces of poetic mind begin in darkness: a mystery of figures — sorcerers or shamans — on a journey into hidden places, beyond the boundaries of light & human dwellings. It is in the depths of those caves — 30,000 years in the past — that we get the first glimmers of a move toward the recording of memory & an active imagination that frees such memory & brings it into a new configuration.