Friday, June 27, 2014

"Vulnerability Study" by Solmaz Sharif

your face turning from mine
to keep from cumming

8 strawberries in a wet blue bowl

baba holding his pants
up at the checkpoint

a newlywed securing her updo
with grenade pins

a wall cleared of nails
for the ghosts to walk through

Thursday, June 12, 2014

How Emily Dickinson wrote her best poems

What she needed before she could do her finest work was a situation, a figure, that would set out most of the structure for her. She was in trouble whenever some little thing had to be amplified, developed, teased. In the great poems she seizes her theme, normally, not as an idea but as an image or, better still, a relation. And, best of all, the relation has domestic analogies or can be translated directly into domestic or social terms. And then there is a new relation, often a marvelous counterpoint between the intimate relation and the new domestic figure that it has annexed. And the most conclusive example of these felicities is "Because I could not stop for Death":

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me – 
The Carriage held but just Ourselves – 
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring – 
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain – 
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed us –
The Dews drew quivering and chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – ‘tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity –

In this poem all the civilities meet. If we think of it as an achievement of language, we should say at the same time that it has nothing at all to do with a fussy search for the mot juste. Once Emily Dickinson had come to the point of imagining the social image - the afternoon visit, the drive into the country - and had perceived its justice, half the battle was won. She would still have to win the rest of it, but she would do that largely by attending to the "facts" as directly as possible. The style is at once dry and noble; but this is a bonus, a grace, given to her because of the fine confidence with which she entrusted the whole affair to the determination of its leading figure. - Denis Donoghue

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Yes, in Michelet the signifier is sumptuous. - Barthes

[The insects are] charming creatures, bizarre creatures, admirable monsters, with wings of fire, encased in emerald, dressed in enamel of a hundred varieties, armed with strange devices, as brilliant as they are threatening, some in burnished steel frosted with gold, others with silky tassels, lined with black velvet; some with delicate pincers of russet silk against a deep mahogany ground; this one in garnet velvet dotted with gold; then certain rare metallic blues, heightened with velvety spots; elsewhere metallic stripes, alternating with matte velvet. - French historian Jules Michelet