|May 15, 2012|
Marianne Moore throwing a pitch, 1968
She has no heirs. She has several epigones but their detail-laden lacquered ships for me don’t float. She flares singular, exemplary, a diamond absolute the American East forged in a pressure chamber we have yet fully to excavate.
If her contemporaries often turned to myth (The Waste Land, Ulysses), to a new mode of modern enchantment, Moore made it new via a reverse enchantment: unlike Orpheus, she does not make the stones sing but rather sings the stones:
I sense your glory.
For things that I desire and have not got:
For things I have that I wish I had not,
You compensate me,
—From Flints, Not Flowers
Hear this refusal to swoon, this song of lack, this almost New-Englandy logic of flinty compensation. This bald rhythmic reckoning with, dispossession of, “things.” In such a poem, an early poem, it is as if Moore moves behind Eliot’s idea of the “objective correlative”—the object adequate to emotion, to a complex of thought and feeling—to show us the process by which “flints” might become that object, selected over and against “flowers.” For, as Milton said, and Moore surely knew, “reason is but choosing.”
Which in Moore’s case often means negating: “Flints, Not Flowers.”
“The Mind Is an Enchanting Thing.” So goes the title of a much later poem. What could be a fey little announcement—how enchanting the mind!—is in Moore a diagnosis: the mind enchants: it casts spells, sings songs, projects its magic on and through the object world and other creatures. The poems tack between a submission to and a critique of this enchantment. They are anti-Orphic more than Orphic—yet one has to know the power of Orpheus to create a poetics opposed to it.
Merleau-Ponty’s Child Psychology
As much as death signals the end of the self, birth is just as mysterious. Both extend out to infinity and signal the brevity and contingency of our lives. As mysterious are those first few years of life that one does not have access to as an adult, I know I existed before my earliest memories. I know I interacted with others, I learned to walk and talk. I was willful from my parent’s tales.
William Pope.L: Reader Friendly
William Pope.L is famous for (among other things) carrying a business card that identifies him as “The Friendliest Black Artist in America.” It’s a clever gag because it makes itself true, in a way, every time it draws people closer. The card must be especially useful when Pope.L does business with people who dread Black men or Black artists.
10 Things the NSA Has Seen Me Do
One winter in my early twenties myself and some good friends — a merging of art, music and literary ladies of New York, full-grown girls aspiring to be women — got together, had a lovely dinner, some wine and delightful chat. Then we decided to spend an hour practicing “Teach Me How To Dougie”. NSA — can you teach me how to Dougie? You know why? “Because all my bitches love me.”
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Though Aldous Huxley is primarily remembered for his novels and to a lesser extent his essays, he began his writing career as a poet. While a student at Balliol College at Oxford, having been exempted from military service due to extremely poor eyesight, he was involved in several student poetry magazines. In September 1916 his first book of poetry, The Burning Wheel, appeared.
he invited me to the village Kout-chouk-Koy where he had a tiny strip of land and a white, two-storied house. There, while showing me his "estate," he began to speak with animation: "If I had plenty of money, I should build a sanatorium here for invalid village teachers. You know, I would put up a large, bright building—very bright, with large windows and lofty rooms. I would have a fine library, different musical instruments, bees, a vegetable garden, an orchard. . . . There would be lectures on agriculture, mythology. . . . Teachers ought to know everything, everything, my dear fellow."
Who me, listen to audio books? That was my attitude until recently, a prejudice of my profession that literature is better read than heard. But on a solo road trip this summer I took along the ten-disk set of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for the ride.