Why a few little sparks?

What am I doing

but striking a few little sparks

when what the occasion demands is a comet?

~ Seamus Heaney, interviewed in The Art of Poetry No. 75

 


Notes:

  • Photo: First photograph of a comet. Image obtained by Jules Janssen on June, 30, 1881 (via The Future of the Past)
  • Post Inspired by Maurice Vlaminck: “I seem initially to have followed Fauvism, and then to have followed in Cézanne’s footsteps. Whatever – I do not mind… as long as first of all I remained Vlaminck.” (via CozyHuarique)
  • Heaney Quote via Schonwieder

Sunday Morning

Q: Several poems in this collection speak to a desire for silence—an even bigger appetite for it than the speaker originally had thought was needed. How much silence do you usually need to write, and how do you get it?

JH: I need more and more silence, it feels. Poems don’t leap into my mind when I’m distracted, turned outward, with other people, listening to music. It’s more for me as with going into a forest: if you sit quietly for a long time, the life around you emerges. As the world grows ever more clamorous, my hunger for silence steepens. I unplug the landline.

~ Jane Hirshfield, from Of Amplitude There Is No Scraping Bottom: An Interview with Jane Hirshfield (Tin House, March 15, 2016)


Notes:

 

A Really Big Lunch

Jim was hungry, thirsty, joyously friendly, and characteristically overeager for the first course to come out of the kitchen. Jim’s appetite was legendary, and nothing makes a cook quite so happy as someone who exists entirely to eat—and when not eating, to talk about eating, to hunt and fish for things to eat, or to spend time after eating talking about what we just ate. […]

Jim and I shared many qualities: an unending appetite, inhaling life to the full chorizo, finding hilarious and playful nuance in every breath and every moment, but I always was and remain the student. Jim was sharper, more in tune with the distant cry of the loon over the lake while fishing on a lazy Tuesday morning, more sensitive to the moonlight over Washington Square Park on a dusk walk toward the Babbo apartment, where he sometimes stayed. Jim lived art not as a method to distill his thoughts but as a categorical way of understanding life, a quest to quench an insatiable thirst for all it put before him. And to share that understanding with any and every person he met. […]

Jim once wrote of a character, “He’s literally taking bites out of the sun, moon, and earth,” which is what he himself spent a lifetime doing. Damn, he was my hero.

~ Mario Batali, from “Inhaling Life” (The New Yorker, March 18, 2017). This text was drawn from the introduction to “A Really Big Lunch: Meditations on Food and Life from the Roving Gourmand,” by Jim Harrison, which is out on March 24th.

They’re almost sacred. Words…Head. Heart. Pen and paper.

welder

Mining Poems or Odes won the BAFTA Scotland award for best short documentary in 2015. It’s 11 minutes long. You will say you don’t have time. Save the link and come back to it. It’s that good. His accent, his passion, his story, the cinematography – all hypnotic.

“The Scottish poet Robert Fullerton is a former shipyard welder who was an apprentice when he found his love of books thanks to his mentor. Like its subject, Mining Poems or Odes finds beauty in language and in the docks of Glasgow Fullerton’s thoughts on mining and lyrical readings of his poetry with scenes from the Govan shipyard’s distinctly working-class milieu.”

Here’s a large chunk of excerpts from the documentary:

[Read more…]

300 Arguments

300-arguments-sarah-manguso-book-cover

It takes x hours to write a book and some percentage of x hours to wish I were a different writer, writing a different book.
____

A great photographer insists on writing poems. A brilliant essayist insists on writing novels. A singer with a voice like an angel insists on singing only her own, terrible songs. So when people tell me I should try to write this or that thing I don’t want to write, I know what they mean.
____

I don’t write long forms because I’m not interested in artificial deceleration. As soon as I see the glimmer of a consequence, I pull the trigger.
____

My least favorite received idea about writing is that one must find one’s voice, as if it’s there inside you, ready to be turned on like a player piano. Like character, its very existence depends on interaction with the world.
____

Slowly, slowly, I accumulate sentences. I have no idea what I’m doing until suddenly it reveals itself, almost done.

~ Sarah Manguso, excerpts on writing from her new book titled “300 Arguments” (February 7, 2017)


Inspired by brainpickings:

I learned that, to be a writer, one has first got to be what he is, what he was born…. You had only to remember what you were.

~ William Faulkner, Essays, Speeches & Public Letters


Related Posts: Sarah Manguso

Lightly child, lightly.

sun-light-bright-jpg

You have to be like the sun my dear.
Bright, alive, a dance in your step,
your smile reaching every corner, so radiant.
Yes you’ve got to make them wince a little bit.

~ Mavaline


Notes:

  • Photo: via Mennyfox55
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

It’s been a long day

dark-portrait-long-day-jpg

I have had days
stare back at me as if to say,
let’s see who will darken first.

William Olsen, from “The Day After the Day of the Dead” in The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry

 


Notes:

Lightly child, lightly.

sparkler

…We go outside with simple, old-fashioned boxes of sparklers, and give a few sparklers to each child. How magical and otherworldly it is to watch their beautiful round faces lit up by these lights that sparkle for ten to 20 seconds before giving way to the darkness…

It’s easy to see why so many cultures have worshipped the sun. But there is also something beautiful, something humble, about the passing nature of beauty and light in this realm. Something terrestrial and finite, limited and passing. Like the sparklers. It comes on, fluttering, lighting up the face of the beholder and those around for a minute or two, and then gently gives in to the darkness.

What is it about this passing light that so fascinates us? Is it that it reminds us, echoes in us, something of our own finite nature? Are we like this too, coming out of the darkness of nothingness, and then for a moment or two having these brilliant, life-giving, light-giving moments?

The always-lovely Rumi talks about this scattering of light:

We come spinning out of nothingness,

scattering stars like dust.

~  Omid Safi, from “Beauty in a Flash of Light and Life” from On Being, January 7, 2017

 


Notes:

  • Photo: October31th
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

It’s been a long day

michele-kirsch2

What is definitely true is that I am never short of work, and I’m not even a “great” cleaner, or a treasure. I’m a good cleaner. I do skirting boards, light switches, polish the smudges and grease off kettles and toasters. I do the stuff other people don’t have the time or inclination to do. I’ll take all your boyfriend’s work shirts back to my flat to iron if your electricity is on the blink. I will go the extra mile, because the work is honest, very physical, and at the end of the day, I sleep the deep sleep of the justly tired.

~ Michele Kirsch: My life as a cleaner in London

 


Notes:

Lightly child, lightly.

light

Light splashed this morning…
A curious gladness shook me…
and I pick my notebook up
and I start to read aloud
the still-wet words I scribbled
on the blotted page:
“Light splashed …”

I can scarcely wait till tomorrow
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does each day.

~ Stanley Kunitz, from “The Round” in Passing Through: The Later Poems, New and Selected


Notes:

  • Photo:ben cauchi via mennyfox55. Poem: via readalittlepoetry
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
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