Friday, January 15, 2010

Theory: In which we check our list

1933-34, Album Milliat, gymnastique scolaire

Steve Almond’s Bad Poetry Corner: Writing wretched verse so you don’t have to since 1995

A list is an intimation of totality, a simulacrum of knowing much, of knowing the right much. We select our ten best big-band recordings, all-time basketball starting fives, mysteries to read this summer; add up the people we've slept with or people we wish we had...

It is good, at certain hours of the day and night, to look closely at the world of objects at rest. Wheels that have crossed long, dusty distances with their mineral and vegetable burdens, sacks from the coal bins, barrels, and baskets, handles and hafts for the carpenter’s tool chest. From them flow the contacts of man with the earth, like a text for all troubled lyricists. The used surfaces of things, the wear that the hands give to things, the air, tragic at times, pathetic at others, of such things – all lend a curious attractiveness to the reality of the world that should not be underprized. from "Sobre una Poesía sin Pureza” ("Towards an Impure Poetry") -- Pablo Neruda

The New Chicago School of Poetry by Kent Johnson

Few contemporary American literary novelists are as prolific and wide-ranging as Joyce Carol Oates.

January 2010: Long Story Short: International Flash Fiction

1945, Cornebuse et cie by Guy Sabran

Art Apps

The Death of the Slush Pile

from "Medea in Athens"
Augusta Davies Webster

And now, when day with all its useless talk
and useless smiles and idiots' prying eyes
that impotently peer into one's life,
when day with all its seemly lying shows
has gone its way and left pleased fools to sleep,
while weary mummers, taking off the mask,
discern that face themselves forgot anon
and, sitting in the lap of sheltering night,
learn their own secrets from her--even now
does it seem either good or ill to me?
No, but mere strange.

And this most strange of all
that I care nothing.

1 comment:

Neftali said...

Neruda's essay on impure poetry is an important classic. For more on Pablo Neruda, check out

peace and poetry,


The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau