Kathleen Rooney on her stance on “persistent optimism,” as one of the qualities of poet Kees’ work:
An optimist is one of the saddest things a person can be. …. a person can’t become so bitter and disappointed if he didn’t start out full of hope.
I get the sense of someone who knows full well that he ought to hope for the best and expect the worst, but who can’t quite force himself to do that. Even though he is sophisticated and knows that what he expects is impossible, he can’t help but keep wanting the world to be better than it is — that people should be kinder to one another, that the government should be more just, that humane behavior toward other people should be returned and maybe even rewarded — and inevitably, he keeps being thwarted in these desires.
I believe there are more than eight variations on being thwarted, but it’s a start.