You Be Henry Miller & I’ll Be Anais Nin


Henry Miller & Joan Didion Quotes


A Literary Kick (books, links, poets and authors)

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).

For starters, I want these books (many of which were found at Ampersand Books and Brain Pickings):

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)

MeaningofHumanExistenceMech.inddThe Meaning of Human Existence (BOUGHT IT!) by Edward O. Wilson

–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

(poetry) Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Gluck —OWN IT9780374152017_custom-c010e93aece861fd1783b68ce6c0eabdc7044d67-s99-c85

****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


and oooooh

22022747I 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  71h2yIQfwdL

(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


MadHat Lit

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)

Luna Park

Laila Lalami Read More

Free Write Friday with Kellie Elmore

Join in the fun at Kellie Elmore‘s Free Write Friday!  It’s fun and great brain exercise for all you writers out there looking for inspiration.  This week the inspiration for the Free Write is a beautiful summer picture with this quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Then followed that beautiful season…Summer.

Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape

galleryoncentral at Etsy
galleryoncentral at Etsy (not the image from the prompt)

lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

K, here goes nothing.  No editing, no self-criticism, just write:

Outside the decrepit white farmhouse, the lush yard is our menagerie of imagination.  Arching trees soar into the blue sky, their heavy limbs creating a canopy over the dirt driveway.  Two apples trees blossom near the fence, and when June’s breeze blows, the pink petals fall like snow across the green grass, a lazy hammock swaying between the trees.  Fat bumble bees buzz low to the ground.  Honeysuckle in the air.

I’m in a white summer dress, my white blond hair in a pigtails, my skin sun-kissed.  I’m standing beneath the plum tree, sucking on the bitter purple fruit, wiping the juice on my dress.  I bend over and pick the yellow dandelions, squishing the soft center into my cheeks.   I hear my sisters laughing on the swing beneath the pink blossoms, my daddy pushing them, one at a time, higher and higher.   I want a turn but I can’t help but follow that scent–the scent I’ll carry with me dearly for the rest of my lives.  I follow it and I’m taken to the lilac trees against the house by the humming bird feeder.  The aroma fills me and I crawl into the tree’s cavernous entrance and huddle down inside.  This is my summer–the summer of my life.  The summer I dream I will return to after so many cold years.

Bukowski’s Poem About Poets

Charles Bukowski
Charles Bukowski (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I came across this poem by Bukowski and wanted to share with all you fellow poets out there.  It’s taken from Charles Bukowski‘s The Continual Condition: Poems




all the words, you know, it’s hard to tell if you’re truly on course or

on some vanity trip: how much can be said, how much has

already been said, and why?

other writers’ words do me little good, then, why should mine be


all my words…do they create

laughter through the flame?


the same  poets reading over and Read More


Another open-link night over at dVerse Poets Pub, with a beautiful share on the late Adrienne Rich.  Come join in the sharing at Open Link Night 38.   Thanks dVerse!


There are endless days and nights

when the fever is at its peak, when the sheets

are still dry, tangled in the legs, awaiting its break.


There are endless days and nights

of infection seeping out your pores, as cells

proliferate and the mind expels the waste

through sweat and tears, as light comes

swirling out of the dark.


These are the stuff my poems are made on.


But what of now?  What of the time unspent,

endless days of watching clocks or racing

up the afternoons in a frenzy

to chase away a possible new fever pitch,

wishing for the wet moments when it breaks,

taking me away from myself and into an illness.


What am I without difficult degrees?


My heart waiting and waiting,

looking in the mirror at a face

I can’t recognize, too disenchanted

by what’s left, what awaits, by all else

moving moving forward together


I remember thinking to myself my first

night in the hospital

well at least I’ve got new material to write about

To be an illness or scar

is at least something.  A form of someone with

a clear goal, a clear ache, a clear infection.

Not this woman who, once passing clarity

or the long division of a stretched body,

waits unsettled in still time

waiting and waiting for sunlight

through her kitchen curtains to

show her something.






Check Out Turtle Way: an Online Arts Journal on Mental Illness

I wanted to share with you all that I was fortunate enough to be published in Turtle Way, a literary art journal in support of those with mental illness.  My essay published in it (“The Silent Army”) can be found here.  Thanks, Turtle Way! The magazine is wonderful–real, raw emotion; a real glimpse into mental illness.  Well done.  (I’m quite taken with Bryan William Myers‘ poem “Unease“ and Doug Metz‘s “breakdown“–both taking my breath away, reminding me of those long days, those long, wretched nights, the dead dreams.  Beautiful.

“…the unsaid (in a poem)…exerts great power” Louise Gluck on Poetry

–from Modern American Poetry; Louise Gluck (my favorite)


Glück On “the Unsaid” in Poetry

from “Disruption, Hesitation, Silence”

[In this meditative essay, Glück defends in more detail the aesthetics of paradox and simple language that she had earlier sketched in “Education of the Poet.” In this more developed presentation, that aesthetics is rooted in a sense of a work of art as provocatively unfinished. The artists Glück discusses – the poets include Rilke, Berryman, Oppen and Eliot – are, as she demonstrates, practitioners of “not saying,” of leaving out so as to suggest.]

What I share with [poets in my generation] is ambition; what I dispute is its definition. I do not think that more information always makes a richer poem. I am attracted to ellipsis, to the unsaid, to suggestion, to eloquent, deliberate silence. The unsaid, for me, exerts great power: often I wish an entire poem could be made in this vocabulary. It is analogous to the unseen for example, to the power of ruins, to works of art either damaged or incomplete. Such works inevitably allude to larger contexts; they haunt because they are not whole, though wholeness is implied: another time, a world in which they were whole, or were to have been whole, is implied. There is no moment in which their first home is felt to be the museum. … It seems to me that what is wanted, in art, is to harness the power of the unfinished. All earthly experience is partial. Not simply because it is subjective, but because that which we do not know, of the universe, of mortality, is so much more vast than that which we do know. What is unfinished or has been destroyed participates in these mysteries. The problem is to make a whole that does not forfeit this power.

From Louise Glück, “Disruption, Hesitation, Silence,” Proofs & Theories: Essays on Poetry (New York: Ecco, 1994) 74-75. Copyright 1994 by Louise Glück.

lines from the greats on life and writing

Do I contradict myself?

Very well, then I contradict myself,

I am large, I contain multitudes.      

                                                           —Walt Whitman

Artists must be sacrificed to their art, like bees, they must put their lives into the sting they give.  —Ralph Waldo Emerson

A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.  –Virginia Woolf

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.    –Mark Twain

Self-command is the main elegance.   –Ralph Waldo Emerson


We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.  –Shakespeare’s The Tempest

Men at some time are masters of their fates:

the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,

but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

                                                   …Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

An artist is a creature driven by demons.  He doesn’t know why they choose him and he’s usually too busy to wonder why.  –William Faulkner

As for style of writing, if one has anything to say, it drops from him simply and directly, as a stone falls to the ground.  –Henry David Thoreau

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.  –Thoreau

The writer must write what he has to say, not speak it.  –Hemingway

Brevity is the soul of wit.  –Shakespeare

What another would have done as well as you, do not do it.  What another would have said as well as you, do not say it.  What another would have written as well, do not write it.  Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself and thus make yourself indispensable.  –Andre Gide

An original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate.  –de Chateaubriand

No man does anything from a single motive.  –Samual Taylor Coleridge

*Words are the physicians of a mind diseased.  –Aeschylus

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.  –David Hare

For words, like Nature, half reveal and half conceal the Soul within.  –Alfred Lord Tennyson

*Nobody knows what’s in him until he tries to pull it out.  If there’s nothing, or very little, the shock can kill a man.  –Hemingway

To penetrate one’s being, one must go armed to the teeth.  –Paul Valery

*Learn what you are, and be such.  –Pindar

The time is out of joint.  –Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.  –Shakespeare

In memory, everything seems to happen to music.  –Tennessee Williams

Such as we are made of, such we be.  –Shakespeare Sonnet CXVI

We never live, but we are always in the expectation of living.  –Voltaire

He alone deserves liberty and life who daily must win them anew.  –Goethe

…on literature…

The essay is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything.  –Samuel Taylor Coleridge

When a man can observe himself suffering and is able, later, to describe what he’s gone through, it means he was born for literature.  –Edouard Bourdet

The short story is the art form that deals with the individual when there is no longer a society to absorb him, and when he is compelled to exit, as it were, by his own inner light.  –Frank O’Connor

A biography is considered complete if it merely accounts for six or seven selves, whereas a person may well have as many as a thousand.  –Virginia Woolf

Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young.  –W. Somerset Maugham

Those who lose dreaming are lost.  –Australian Aboriginal proverb

*Experience is in the fingers and the head.  The heart is inexperienced.  –Henry David Thoreau

Experience, which destroys innocence, also leads one back to it.  –James Baldwin

From error to error one discovers the entire truth.  –Sigmund Freud

*Not to transmit an experience is to betray it.  –Elie Wiesel

All things must change to something new, to something strange.  –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Beauty without expression tires.  –Ralph Waldo Emerson

We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its ends.  –Emerson

A great man does not lose his self-possession when he is afflicted; the ocean is not made muddy by the falling in of its banks.  –Panchatantra

Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.  –Miles Davis

Music is the shorthand of emotion.  –Leo Tolstoy