There is no poetry of distinction without formal invention, for it is in the intimate form that works of art achieve their exact meaning, in which they most resemble the machine, to give language its highest dignity, its illumination in the environment to which it is native. Such war, as the arts live and breathe by, is continuous.
— from William Carlos WIlliams’ introduction to The Wedge (1944)
# 1 month ago
But the ice on Ellesmere Island at the heart of Nunavut is melting and polar bears are in trouble, for their hunting is dependent on summer ice, and chemical contamination is turning some of them into hermaphrodites. There are no words in the native languages for the new birds arriving in the warming far north. Chunks of Antarctic ice shelf the size of small New England states are falling into the sea, which is rising enough to threaten the very existence of some of the small islands in the world and the cultures of those islands…There are nightmarish things at large, and it is not my purpose to deny them. What are the grounds of hope in this world of wrecks?
— from “Doubt” by Rebecca Solnit
# 1 month ago

Reliquaria, winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, forthcoming this fall, 2014

# 1 month ago

I had hardly begun to read
I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all
and he said you can’t

you can’t you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don’t write

— from “Berryman,” W.S. Merwin
# 1 month ago
Rhythmic form and subject-matter are locked in a permanent embrace: …in metrical verse, it is the nature of the control being exercised that becomes part of the life being spoken about. It is poetry making great use of the conscious intelligence, but its danger is bombast—the controlling music drowning out everything else. Free verse invites a different style of experience, improvisation. Its danger lies in being too relaxed, too lacking in controlling energy.
— from The Occasions of Poetry: Essays in Criticism and Autobiography by Thom Gunn
# 1 month ago
32. There is a small part of the brain called the fusiform gyrus that is crucial for recognizing faces. If you lose this ability your deficit is called prosopagnosia. It happens that a person with brain damage looks at herself in the mirror, and believes she is seeing, not herself, but a double. It seems that what has vanished is not reason, but that special feeling we get when we look at our reflections, that warm sense of ownership. When that disappears, the image of one’s self becomes alien.
— from “Notes on Seeing" by Siri Hustvedt
# 2 months ago

From Crying Landscape (2002) by Yang Jiechang, a series of large-scale triptychs. When the paintings “were first displayed at the 2003 Venice Biennale…they were hung from the ceiling and accompanied by a soundtrack of Johan Strauss II’s The Blue Danube waltz punctuated by the sound of the artist’s screams.”

# 3 months ago
We live in a degenerate age….The old styles have a sameness about them. They seem to have followed the copybooks and allowed little room for original talent.
— Prince Genji, in the “Plum Tree Branch” (Mumegae) chapter of The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu
# 3 months ago
Cultivate the poet. The poet is the unacknowledged legislator of this universe and the sooner we knock under to that the better. Get Emerson’s essay on the American scholar and read it once a year.
Frank Lloyd Wright
# 3 months ago

"New Tricks for Ancient Wings" by Walton Ford

# 4 months ago

# 5 months ago

"The Fighting Filipinos" (1943) by Manuel Rey Isip

# 5 months ago

Joseph Rock. “Tibetan skeleton dancer,” 1925 [via]

# 7 months ago
The X-Men made a lot of sense to me, because that’s what it really felt like to grow up bookish and smart in a poor urban community in Central New Jersey. Time-travel made sense to me because how else do I explain how I got from Villa Juana, from latrines and no lights, to Parlin, NJ, to MTV and a car in every parking space? Not just describe it but explain the missing emotional cognitive disjunction? I mean, let’s be real. Without shit like race and racism, without our lived experience as people of color, the metaphor that drives, say, the X-Men would not exist! Mutants are a metaphor (among other things) for race, and that’s one of the reasons that mutants are so popular in the Marvel Universe and in the Real. I have no problem re-looting the metaphor of the X-Men because I know it’s my silenced experience, my erased condition that’s the secret fuel that powers this particular fucking fantasy. So if I’m powering the ship, at a lower frequency, I’m going to have a say in how it’s used and in what ports of call it stops.
— Junot Diaz in conversation with Edwidge Danticat at BOMB
# 8 months ago

Red Hook, Brooklyn

# 8 months ago