(my favorite parts of the mysterious poem anyway)
by Mina Loy
The human cylinders
Revolving in the enervating dusk
Write like a motherfucker, sweetpea…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………."You have to pick the places you don't walk away from." –Didion
(my favorite parts of the mysterious poem anyway)
by Mina Loy
The human cylinders
Revolving in the enervating dusk
“I broke my own heart too. It’s broken and gone. Everything I believed in and everything I cared about I left for you because you were so wonderful and you loved me so much that love was all that mattered. Love was the greatest thing, wasn’t it? Love was what we had that no one else had or could ever have and you were a genius and I was your whole life. I was your partner and your little black flower. Slop. Love is just another dirty lie. Love is ergoapiol pills to make me come around because you were afraid to have a baby. Love is quinine and quinine and quinine until I’m deaf with it. Love is that dirty aborting horror that you took me to. Love is my insides all messed up. It’s half catheters and half whirling douches. I know about love. Love always hangs behind the bathroom door. It smells like Lysol. To hell with love. Love is you making me happy and then going off to sleep with your mouth open while I lie awake all night afraid to say my prayers even because I know I have no right to any more. Love is all the dirty little tricks you taught me that you probably got out of some book. All right. I’m through with you and I’m through with love. Your kind of pick-nose love. You writer.”
–from Hemingway for his first love; read by Derek Walcott at New York Public Library (“Hemingway and the Caribbean“)–well worth the listen. This part was my favorite thought. It sorta choked me up one winter morning when I was walking.
- For the Woman Alone by Ashley Inguanta —ampersand books
(my personal favorite): Enigma Variations by Andre Aciman link here
- “A novel divided into five novella-length sections, each focused on a different erotic obsession and possibility….”
- The project is one of recognition and revelation within the reader: the book wants nothing less than the dissolution of your consciousness into its pixellated moments of psychological precision … the third section, ‘Manfred,’ grows a little tedious. Unlike Aciman’s steamy first novel Call Me by Your Name, most of the skin-to-skin contact in Enigma Variations occurs in the narrator’s head, and in ‘Manfred,’ Paul wallows longwindedly in the agony of delayed avowal … Intriguingly, as we witness Paul repeatedly rearrange his life around a new magnetic north, it becomes clear that his bisexuality abets his serial monogamy … Aciman has captured Paul’s bridge life delightfully well.
A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women –Siri Hustvedt
Siri Hustvedt’s essay collection–A collection of essays on art, feminism, neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy from prize-winning novelist Siri Hustvedt.
“Siri Hustvedt, an authoritative and independent-minded writer on the arts and sciences, brings the felt experience into her smart, stimulating and hefty new collection of essays … What’s exciting about Hustvedt’s work is her desire for us to see the world anew … Hustvedt does not resolve her many questions, but her exhilarating conclusion testifies to the virtues of doubt … the strength and lucidity of Hustvedt’s good thinking calls us to have confidence in our own instincts, to be alert to delusions and inherited traditions, and to realize that many truths are fiction, and only exist to the extent that we believe them.”–lithub review
The Refugees, is as impeccably written as it is timed … This is an important and incisive book written by a major writer with firsthand knowledge of the human rights drama exploding on the international stage — and the talent to give us inroads toward understanding it … There is no effort to avoid the identity of ‘refugee’ — this book interrogates the term on political and spiritual levels, and the results are saturated with pain, memory and beauty … In this collection, towns are altered by war, relatives by time. In some stories, decades pass between letters home to Vietnam, as in ‘Fatherland.’ There is a thorny dissonance between past and present. The living protagonists are often forced to carry traumatic visions with them as they try to make their way in a new country … Nguyen is skilled at making us feel the disorientation and alienation of these characters navigating displacement … The Refugees is a surprisingly sensual book, despite operating in difficult political and emotional terrain. Nguyen crafts sentences with an eye toward physicality and a keen awareness of bodies and their urges … In an era where writers and readers debate who gets to write what, it is refreshing and essential to have this work from a writer who knows and feels the terrain on an intellectual, emotional and cellular level — it shows. Nguyen offers stories of aftermath, but also of complexity. He gives us human beings weary of pity and tired of sharing rehearsed stories that make them seem like ‘one more anonymous young refugee.’ In topic and in execution, The Refugees is an exquisite book.
(featured image http://sissyjupe.blogspot.com )
hear Anne Sexton’s poetry at the Poetry Foundation; the first one is “The Double Image” and the first time I heard it I was in my mother’s garage bawling my eyes out.
Anne Sexton, “The Double Image” from The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Copyright © 1981 by Linda Gray Sexton and Loring Conant, Jr. Reprinted with the permission of Sll/Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.
Source: The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton (Houghton Mifflin, 1981)
If you don’t know him, you’re in for a treat. Beautiful and amazing and heart-breaking and warming:
“If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces.”
[Blueprint for a Breakthrough (2013)]”
― Shane Koyczan
“Look directly into every mirror. Realize our reflection is the first sentence to a story, and our story starts: We were here.”
― Shane Koyczan
Accept each extended hand offered to pull you back from the somewhere you cannot escape
scrape the gray sky clean, realize every dark cloud is a smoke screen meant to blind us from the truth and the truth is whether we see them or not, the sun and moon are still there and always—there is light.
be forthright. Despite your instinct to say it’s alright, I’m okay, BE HONEST
SAY HOW YOU FEEL
without fear or guilt
without remorse or complexity
be lucid in your explanation be sterling in your appose
we will station ourselves to the calm
we will hold ourselves to the steady
YOUR VOICE IS YOUR WEAPON, YOUR THOUGHTS—AMMUNITION.
there are no free extra men be aware that in the instant now passes it exists now as then?
so be A MIRROR REFLECTING YOUR SELF BACK, REMEMBERING THE TIMES WHEN YOU THOUGHT ….ALL OF THIS WAS TOO HARD AND THAT YOU’D NEVER MAKE IT THROUGH…
“but I want to tell them
that all of this shit
is just debris
leftover when we finally decide to smash all the things we thought
we used to be
and if you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself
get a better mirror
look a little closer
stare a little longer
because there’s something inside you
that made you keep trying
despite everyone who told you to quit
you built a cast around your broken heart
and signed it yourself
you signed it
“they were wrong”
because maybe you didn’t belong to a group or a click
maybe they decided to pick you last for basketball or everything
maybe you used to bring bruises and broken teeth
to show and tell but never told
because how can you hold your ground
if everyone around you wants to bury you beneath it
you have to believe that they were wrong
they have to be wrong”
― Shane Koyczan
I’ve been on a crazy literary kick and I thought I’d share my findings, including some INCREDIBLE books (and links, author blogs, literary websites and magazines/journals).
Letters of Note –Shaun Usher (and his awesome Letters of Note blog)
A Writer’s Diary–Fyodor Dostoyevsky
As Consciousness is Harnassed to Flesh: journals and notebooks (Susan Sontag)
–and here’s a review by the Washington Post
Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace (Anne Lamott) —BOUGHT IT!
Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery by Jeanette Winterson
Dataclysm: Who We Are (when we think no one is looking) by Christian Rudder —BOUGHT IT!
The Life of the Mind by Hannah Arendt
Changing My Mind: Occassional essays by Zadie Smith
****The Muse of Abandonment: Origin, Identity, Mastery in Five American Poets by Lee Upton (…bought it)
A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit —BOUGHT IT!
Henry Miller on Writing
Sex, or the Unbearable by Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman
I want this one: Blacken Me Blacken Me, Growled by Cassandra Troyan (which I saw over at PANK)
(poetry/Ampersand): For the Woman Alone (at Ampersand Books) by Ashley Inguanta
(fiction/Ampersand) We Take Me Apart –Molly Gaudry (and I believe there is a sequel coming out)
Now, other cool literary/poetic places I like–and most of them have podcasts, links, reviews, music, and more:
How a Poem Happens (one of my favorite places)
Identity Theory–has everything
Tin House Workshop Podcasts (with a special podcast there by Ann Hood on 10 steps to an essay)
Bookslut –books, interviews, posts, good stuff
Largehearted Boy–music, books, lots of great shit (and downloads)
Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.
So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything other than galloping neurosis?
The answer, then, must not deal with goals at all, or not with tangible goals, anyway. It would take reams of paper to develop this subject to fulfillment. God only knows how many books have been written on “the meaning of man” and that sort of thing, and god only knows how many people have pondered the subject. (I use the term “god only knows” purely as an expression.)* There’s very little sense in my trying to give it up to you in the proverbial nutshell, because I’m the first to admit my absolute lack of qualifications for reducing the meaning of life to one or two paragraphs.
–Hunter S. Thompson
“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.”
―, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Read More
So I came across a post at a blog I follow by Ryan Lanz called The Writer’s Path (excellent posts and advice, let me tell you–I don’t think he knows how many times I re-read his stuff). He does “Ten Quote Tuesdays” and I of course am late for it but I’m also going to take a different spin on it. There are inspirational quotes in the post on writing and then there are prompts; I have chosen to use one of the quotes as a prompt for a post.
I couldn’t decide between Viktor Frankl’s (amazing survivor and writer) “What is it to give life must endure burning.” Or Natalie Goldberg’s “Kill the idea of the lone, suffering artist. Don’t make it harder on yourself.”
So here goes my simple blog post, Ryan, on “Kill the idea of the lone, suffering artist. Don’t make it harder on yourself.”
My cousin Mike is on the phone, my lifelong best friend. He’s sculpting on the other end and I’m sitting here, smoking in front of a blank screen.
“Hey, Amos, just pull a Hemingway,” he sounds distracted but concerned–he can always do a lot at once.
“Meh, I don’t got enough meds left and there’s no 7up for the gin.”
“Well shit man, I started on my Shandy’s since noon, got this sculpture just about licked. Just get a couple drinks in ya, sit down, and just write. Just let it come to you.”
So I get off the phone, bust out the wine, feeling like less of an artist because I don’t have bourbon. I don’t even know what bourbon is. I set up my laptop on the living room coffee table, turn on my Ali Farka Toure with Ry Cooder album, and wait. And drink. And wait. Surely my demons will arise if I’m intoxicated, they’re here every other day of the week.
Before I know it my face is on fire and I’m quoting the lyrics from “Wild Horses” in an essay attempt to my sister,
...childhood living is easy to do…
of whom I’ve been having an on-going argument with. I write as if she’s going to die, and tears are streaming down my face. I can’t get past the lyrics so I sit. And stop and think. And drink.
Fuck this. Fuckn’ A, Hemingway, you either started all your writing drunk and bloomed from there, or you didn’t really drink when you wrote. I should know this…but he was brilliant!
I play sadder music. A more complicated tune like Radiohead’s “National Anthem” to get me thinking and not focusing on words but guts. I tried doing something high once–in my apartment in Eau Claire where I lived with three other girls. I secretly and for the first time got stoned by myself, and I was going to write something Alice-ish. All I did was draw though–and even the stoned-drawing felt presumptuous. Rehearsed. I have learned I cannot or maybe I just refuse to really allow myself to tap into what I have to say if I’m in any way intoxicated. Man I wish I could. I always imagine the freedom that must come with just saying “fuck it” and writing a master piece. Clearly, this is not realistic thinking. But it’s the romantic idea of an artist’s life.
Let’s face it, we suffer enough. Even when I was really down and out and the “lone sufferer” I couldn’t write then, because I was too close to it. It takes time, I hate to say, but the scary thing is how much time? Because before you know it the book never gets written, and you have a couple dozen poems and essays published that really, well, mean nothing but personal approval that “hey, I can write–they say so.” This post depresses me. TIme to really clear my head and go write!
I’m writing an ode to my favorite poet, Louise Gluck. To join in the fun, come and celebrate the three year anniversary at d-verse poets pub!
I’m writing this poem based on my favorite poem by Gluck–“Mutable Earth.” I carry that one with me in my wallet. Rosanna Warren has described Gluck’s writing, for one
as–“her–power is to distance the lyric ‘I’ as subject and object of attention” and to “impose a discipline of detachment upon urgently subjective material” William Logan from the New York Times described her work as “the logical outcome of a certain strain of confessional verse–starved adjectives, thinned to a nervous set of verbs, intense almost past bearing, her poems have been dark, damaged and difficult to avert your gaze from.” (taken from The Poetry Foundation)
In her poem, “Mutable Earth,” there are a series of questions asked of the narrator and she answers in brief, punching stanzas. I am going to answer the same questions; why not?
“Are you healed or do you only think you’re healed?”
I tell myself it is
terrible and beautiful
It’s costing me everything.
“But can you love anyone yet?”
My first four years
I remember the
“But will you touch anyone?”
I tell myself
if I have nothing,
that’s what comes back.
I touch my face
in the mirror
and I feel nothing.
“And your face too?
Your face in the mirror?”
It feels like I am
gloved; I see
a shape of silent centers.
It always felt invisible.
“Were you safe then?”
Hands that can’t feel
reach for danger.
I wouldn’t keep secrets
of my own–my thoughts
were never safe, even
from me. Read More