Forget the Ones

Will Johnson, in Scorpion, has told an album-length story that seems to me to dramatize the human in a particular time and place but also to have dramatized an aspect of human nature that isn’t bound by those constraints (the where and when of the story). Further, this album has the feel of intimate self-revelation. […]

This is 40: Will Johnson’s Best

In 2011 Will Johnson turned 40. In that same year his rock and roll project, the group Centro-Matic, released what I think is their best album (I might qualify this by calling it their most cohesive album–the center holds), Candidate Waltz. The next year Johnson released the album Scorpion under his own name and it, […]

The Golden Beast of Love

I have loved single songs off of probably every album Will Johnson has attached his name to. Multiple songs off of many of them. But I have always treated them as “one-offs” that are keyed to a particular mood. Of Centro-Matic’s albums my favorites are Fort Recovery and Love You Just the Same and I […]

It’s My Nature: Will Johnson’s “Scorpion”

Will Johnson’s 2012 album Scorpion is a beautiful work. Each listening will deepen your experience. When asked in an interview on WFHB’s “Firehouse Sessions“–by me–about the titles of his “Will Johnson” albums (rather than those of Centro-Matic and South San Gabriel) having much to do with danger and death (Murder of Tides, Vultures Await, Scorpion), […]

Energy and Doom

The future is incompatible with human thinking. That’s not to say we cannot imagine “tomorrow” but that what we imagine will always be cobbled together out of “pastness.” Further, the very same thinking that is assertively addicted to narratives of repetition (the sun rises, the sun sets, the sun rises, the sun sets)–I think we […]

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Soldier-Sentimentalist-Poet

Two snippets from Ford’s The Good Soldier (1924). The word “sentimental” or some form of it occurs 28 times in the novel–a use for big data! ************ For all good soldiers are sentimentalists—all good soldiers of that type. Their profession, for one thing, is full of the big words, courage, loyalty, honour, constancy. And I […]

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The Argument of Arms

Here is the opening of an essay by the Australian poet A.D. Hope called “The Argument of Arms.” It is collected in his 1974 book of essays, The Cave and the Spring. I imagine Melville located something of Ahab in Marlowe’s Tamburlaine as well as Shakespeare’s Coriolanus…both “poets” of power. Pay close attention–this “is the […]

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Living in the Futurist Dream (1913)

How does this sound as a description of our world? Aside from #17 below which makes no sense in this list, I’d say this pretty much describes the present. 1. Acceleration of life to today’s swift pace. Physical, intellectual, and sentimental equilibration on the cord of speed stretched between contrary magnetisms. Multiple and simultaneous awareness […]

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Mean Alloy Notes

One needs to make one’s own discoveries, I found Mina Loy by way of William Carlos Williams, who wrote, in the “Prologue” to Kora in Hell (1920), printed first in Margaret Anderson’s “Magazine of the Arts,” The Little Review, in May of 1919. Of all those writing poetry in America at the time she was […]

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Reading Oppen’s “Workman”

Preface: The blog is an odd space. The I and the You are confusing here. There is no “discussion” (though […]

A Muddle in the Middle: Dominion and Rule

Emerson begins his essay “Experience” (1844)–and here it’s good to remind the modern, the “now” of ourselves, that our thoughts […]

Mer-Manumission

Recently we listened to a podcast, Radiolab’s “Home Is Where Your Dolphin Is,” about dolphins and the iterations of scientific […]

Pouring Out of Various Devices

After reading pages 40, 43 and 44 of the 9/25/14 New York Review of Books. 1. p 40: a review […]

Clare’s Advice: Sink the Pequod!

Okay, so this might be a tad petty, but well, so what? On August 17th, Clare Spark of the blog […]

Swerve Me Ye Cannot!

From Lecture #6 from John Searle’s 1984 Reith Lectures, “Minds, Brains and Science.” If libertarianism, that is the thesis of […]