José Garcia Villa and LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) in NYC, Feb. 1959; photo: Fred W. McDarrah

# 1 week ago

Reliquaria is available now from U. Nebraska Press, Amazon, Waterstones, and your local independent bookseller.

# 3 weeks ago

Untitled by Mariuo Cresci (1979)

# 2 months ago
Someone is writing a poem. Words are being set down in a force field. It’s as if the words themselves have magnetic charges; they veer together or in polarity, they swerve against each other. Part of the force field, the charge, is the working history of the words themselves, how someone has known them, used them, doubted and relied on them in a life. Part of the movement among the words belongs to sound—the guttural, the liquid, the choppy, the drawn-out, the breathy, the visceral, the downlight. The theater of any poem is a collection of decisions about space and time—how are these words to lie on the page, with what pauses, what headlong motion, what phrasing, how can they meet the breath of the someone who comes along to read them? And in part the field is charged by the way images swim into the brain through written language: swan, kettle, icicle, ashes, scab, tamarack, tractor, veil, slime, teeth, freckle.
— Adrienne Rich [via mttbll]

(Source: mttbll)

# 3 months ago

from Gillian Wearing’s “Signs That Say What You Want Them to Say and Not Signs That Say What Someone Else Wants You to Say” (1992-93).

# 3 months ago

Maya Angelou in conversation with Dave Chappelle

# 4 months ago

At Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby” (2014), children playing

# 4 months ago

From Photography & Power in the Colonial Philippines: Colonial officials went to great lengths to teach Filipinos Western athletic games, such as this foot race with an American flag (on left) at the finish line. At the same time, they suppressed Philippine popular sports.

# 4 months ago
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)
# 6 months 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
# 6 months 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
# 6 months 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
# 7 months 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
# 7 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.”

# 9 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
# 9 months ago