“Now the sun was slanting in at one side, so that the shadows were where they ought to be. Again he fell into that strange mood of speculation that was so foreign to him. If faces were different when lit from above or below—what was a face? What was anything?”—William Golding, Lord of the Flies (via likeafieldmouse)
“It is a nostalgic time right now, and photographs actively promote nostalgia. Photography is an elegiac art, a twilight art. Most subjects photographed are, just by virtue of being photographed, touched with pathos. An ugly or grotesque subject may be moving because it has been dignified by the attention of the photographer. A beautiful subject can be the object of rueful feelings, because it has aged or decayed or no longer exists. All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”—Susan Sontag, ‘In Plato’s Cave’, in On Photography, 1977 (via funeral-wreaths)
“Poetry leads to the same place as all forms of eroticism — to the blending and fusion of separate objects. It leads us to eternity, it leads us to death, and through death to continuity. Poetry is eternity; the sun matched with the sea.”—Georges Bataille, from Death and Sensuality (via violentwavesofemotion)
"I used to write messages on the undersides of shelf fungi I found growing on trees in the woods — in Norfolk, at Saratoga, in Vermont — messages that no one could ever see."
— Hayden Carruth, Besides the Shadblow Tree
"Much of the exposure and confession we have grown used to in recent years ends in dullness. Instead of mystery we have information; nothing, or almost nothing, is withheld. Yet poetry lies as much in concealment as in revelation, more often in what is not said or shown. We should remember the hiddenness of so much early art, in caves, places where it would not be seen easily and stripped of its meaning. There were places once that one did not go, mountains no one thought to walk on, for the sake of the spirit living there. Our compulsion now is to climb every peak, to pry into every corner of life, to expose every secret. In the end we find the world empty, the mystery vanished, retreated stubbornly to a place we will never find by looking for it."
— John Haines, “On Our Way to the Address,” Transtromer: A Special Issue, IRONWOOD, NO. 13
SET-UP The object is set before the mind, either in reality. as in sketching (before a landscape or teacup or old face) or is set in the memory wherein it becomes the sketching from memory of a definite image-object.
PROCEDURE Time being of the essence in the purity of speech, sketching language is undisturbed flow from the mind of personal secret idea-words, blowing (as per jazz musician) on subject of image.
METHOD No periods separating sentence-structures already arbitrarily riddled by false colons and timid usually needless commas-but the vigorous space dash separating rhetorical breathing (as jazz musician drawing breath between outblown phrases)—“measured pauses which are the essentials of our speech”—“divisions of the sounds we hear”-“time and how to note it down.” (William Carlos Williams)
SCOPING Not “selectivity’ of expression but following free deviation (association) of mind into limitless blow-on-subject seas of thought, swimming in sea of English with no discipline other than rhythms of rhetorical exhalation and expostulated statement, like a fist coming down on a table with each complete utterance, bang! (the space dash)-Blow as deep as you want-write as deeply, fish as far down as you want, satisfy yourself first, then reader cannot fail to receive telepathic shock and meaning-excitement by same laws operating in his own human mind.
LAG IN PROCEDURE No pause to think of proper word but the infantile pileup of scatological buildup words till satisfaction is gained, which will turn out to be a great appending rhythm to a thought and be in accordance with Great Law of timing.
TIMING Nothing is muddy that runs in time and to laws of time-Shakespearian stress of dramatic need to speak now in own unalterable way or forever hold tongue-no revisions (except obvious rational mistakes, such as names or calculated insertions in act of not writing but inserting).
CENTER OF INTEREST Begin not from preconceived idea of what to say about image but from jewel center of interest in subject of image at moment of writing, and write outwards swimming in sea of language to peripheral release and exhaustion-Do not afterthink except for poetic or P. S. reasons. Never afterthink to “improve” or defray impressions, as, the best writing is always the most painful personal wrung-out tossed from cradle warm protective mind-tap from yourself the song of yourself, blow!-now!-your way is your only way-“good”-or “bad”-always honest (“ludi- crous”), spontaneous, “confessionals’ interesting, because not “crafted.” Craft is craft.
STRUCTURE OF WORK Modern bizarre structures (science fiction, etc.) arise from language being dead, “different” themes give illusion of “new” life. Follow roughly outlines in outfanning movement over subject, as river rock, so mindflow over jewel-center need (run your mind over it, once) arriving at pivot, where what was dim-formed “beginning” becomes sharp-necessitating “ending” and language shortens in race to wire of time-race of work, following laws of Deep Form, to conclusion, last words, last trickle-Night is The End.
MENTAL STATE If possible write “without consciousness” in semi-trance (as Yeats’ later “trance writing”) allowing subconscious to admit in own uninhibited interesting necessary and so “modern” language what conscious art would censor, and write excitedly, swiftly, with writing-or-typing-cramps, in accordance (as from center to periphery) with laws of orgasm, Reich’s “beclouding of consciousness.” Come from within, out-to relaxed and said.
“We live in time—it holds us and moulds us—but I’ve never felt I understood it very well. And I’m not referring to theories about how it bends and doubles back, or may exist elsewhere in parallel versions. No, I mean ordinary, everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly: tick-tock, click-clock. Is there anything more plausible than a second hand? And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time’s malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing—until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return.”—Julian Barnes, from The Sense of an Ending (via memoryslandscape)
“It is not by reading more, but by deepening and refreshing our understanding of a few volumes that we best develop our intelligence and our sensitivity. We feel guilty for all that we have not yet read, but overlook how much better read we already are than Augustine or Dante, thereby ignoring that our problem lies squarely with our manner of absorption rather than with the extent of our consumption.”—
Alain de Botton, from Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer’s Guide to the Uses of Religion
“The poet and professor James Galvin, during a graduate school seminar he was teaching, once said something along the lines of: “You could burn every copy of your favorite poem, and it would still exist.” It terrified me at first—that if that happened, it would be difficult to reproduce an accurate version of the exact piece. That we would lose so much. Imagine “Prufrock,” or “One Art,” just—gone. But what’s stayed with me about that notion is this: the poem would still exist, because it would have already begun the work it was meant to do inside of me, that it was meant to do in the world—like a virus, both good and bad. Is it helpful or harmful when a thing becomes only a souvenir?”—Bring It On Home by Amy Woolard (via therumpus)
I found a white piece of paper with your name on it your old phone number written in the dark loop of your handwriting. I was standing outside a restaurant watching this one cloud float by like foam on a pint of beer and thinking about how good you’ve become at not being here anymore, how you finally broke like a storm across the sky of everything.
—Matthew Dickman, opening lines to “Cloud” from The American Poetry Review (v.41 no. 4, July/August 2012) (via apoetreflects)
“The true magic of this broken world lay in the ability of the things it contained to vanish, to become so thoroughly lost, that they might never have existed in the first place.”—Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (via fables-of-the-reconstruction)
“I discovered The Silent Woman, Janet Malcolm’s portrait of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, last fall and read it in just one sitting, the book in one hand and a champagne flute of white wine in the other. I had recently broken all of my wine glasses. I did not break them all at the same time. Some I broke while cleaning, and I was upset that I had managed to destroy something while trying to make it clean, make it better. Other glasses were broken using more theatrical methods, smashing them against walls to prove points. I had also recently broken my bed frame, cracked a rib, and wrecked a series of valuable relationships. Broken things had become my metric. It was fall and this book fell on my head in the Strand. It was fall and everything was falling out of place. It was fall and I felt, constantly, as if I were in a state of vertigo. I could go on. I won’t.”—The Last Book I Loved: The Silent Woman by Michelle King. (via therumpus)
We come to silence slowly Washed into the world on a wave of sound we leave it later with closed mouths, our tongues grown heavy as stones to anchor us in earth. Now we hear wind in the noisy leaves, a hubbub of water over the rocks, the musical warfare of the birds. Consider the ear shaped like the bass clef but empty. Consider the spaces between stars soliloquies of light. It is almost time to hush the children, to quiet the dogs. Even your words grow muffled in my hair, soon it will be only touch I know you by. These are the corridors of silence, enter on tiptoe. Here Orpheus sleeps, his harp unstrung. Here the sound a leaf makes falling to ground may deafen us.
“I know this much: that there is objective time, but also subjective time, the kind you wear on the inside of your wrist, next to where the pulse lies. And this personal time, which is the true time, is measured in your relationship to memory.”—Julian Barnes, from The Sense of an Ending
“What I’ve always liked about Proust is his unabashed shallowness – or, more precisely, his celebration of the power and primacy of fleeting impressions in decision-making.”—Proust: A Shallow Fellow by Sandra Hajda (via therumpus)
“If painting aims to make every organ function as an eye, if it aims to make the very entrails see, and if music makes every organ and pore of the body function as an ear attuned to rhythm and melody, if, as Deleuze suggests, painting ever more deeply materializes the body while music spiritualizes it, this is because, through the various arts, the body is, for a moment at least, directly touched by the forces of chaos from which it so carefully shields itself in habit, cliché, and doxa, those movements of containment that render only predictable and preproduced sensations, not sensations that announce the future.”—Elizabeth Grosz, “Chaos, Cosmos, Territory, Architecture”, in Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth (via groansofcreation)
“…we can say that any classic (readerly) text is implicitly an art of Replete Literature: literature that is replete: like a cupboard where meanings are shelved, stacked, safeguarded (in the text nothing is ever lost: meaning recuperates everything); like a pregnant female, replete with signifieds which criticism will not fail to deliver; like the sea, replete with depths and movements which give it its appearance of infinity, its vast meditative surface; like the sun, replete with the glory it sheds over those who write it, or finally, acknowledged as an established and recognized art: institutional. This Replete Literature, readerly literature, can no longer be written: symbolic plenitude (culminating in romantic art) is the last avatar of our culture.”—Roland Barthes, S/Z (via jlshollenberger)
“september is a month like any other and unlike any other. it seems in september everything awaited will arrive: in the calm air, in a particular scent, in the stillness of the quay. when september comes, i know i’m going to lose myself.”—Reina María Rodríguez, from “Memory of Water”, translated by Joel Brouwer and Jessica Stephenson, in Poetry, June 2011
“you explain the roundness of the earth; the sharpened tip of the compass needle, always precise, marking contours, lines, limits. the shadow and truth of your body in the landscape: appearances and disappearances when you try to comprehend the possible across great distances, the symmetry, forgetfulness, incarnation in other beings: animals, plants, and later, men once again. you taught me all this, but i’m not a map and i hold still. i abandon my shoes and my dread of nearing the end: the oar descends toward the deep, it is september. we don’t move. i keep still to be different, that’s why…”—Reina María Rodríguez, from “Memory of Water”, translated by Joel Brouwer and Jessica Stephenson, in Poetry, June 2011
“Underneath the water an odd verdigris glow is soaking out from somewhere. The swimmer swims along through rooms mysteriously lit as an early Annunciation. Stillness rushes everywhere. It is awake. It knows him and it cares nothing.”