To Fart and Think of Dante

It’s hard not to love this paragraph from an essay on the poet Walter Lowenfels by Jim Burns. Lowenfels was clearly at home in this kind of atmosphere. With a friend, Michael Fraenkel, he started the Anonymous Movement, advocating total anonymity in the arts. The idea collapsed when he thought the authors of the musical, […]

Tied to Your Shared Fate

[In which we conclude that Stubb's version of the monkey-rope is evil.] What is Equality? The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. What is Equity? The quality of being fair or impartial; fairness. Is there equity in the (shared, negotiated?) social understanding of equality? I read this in a recent New […]

How Derogation Works

Which do you think is worse thing to hear come out of your child’s mouth? “Bitch” or “Fuck”? There are a lot of really hateful and bigoted things to say out there and most of them are related to sexuality and race. Our insults display our prejudicial predilections. Guess which one of these terms the […]

The Impossible Principle

Melville wrote books that could be said to be about: Christian hypocrisy in the Marquesas, authoritarian coercion, military rule, torture, the Leviathan state, labor and brotherhood, wanton slaughter for the benefit of human “profit and progress,” the fraudulence of democratic institutions, the manipulative mysteries of the priestly caste, the politics of the confidence scam, the […]

The Spirit of America: The 13th Amendment

I must admit to an utter ignorance of the depths of duplicity written into the United States legal codes. I might have once thought myself an astute cynic of the “law” as I have long understood it to be protective of, primarily, as the “founders” surely intended, White Men with Property. But it is worse […]

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Part II–Why This American Life On Animal Sacrifice is Great and Good

Perhaps, because you love visiting this vanity project, you recall I praised to the skies this episode of This American Life, #480: Animal Sacrifice, from November 30, 2012. (Part I–This American Life On Animal Sacrifice) At the link above you’ll find a full description of the program and a link to it as well. Okay, […]

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The Whole Pieces of Modernist Poetry

Stevens places a jar in Tennessee and Williams breaks a bottle and places it “between walls.” I placed a jar in Tennessee, And round it was, upon a hill. It made the slovenly wilderness Surround that hill. The wilderness rose up to it, And sprawled around, no longer wild. The jar was round upon the […]

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Personality Perplex

So much these days about the brain “acting” in priority to “thought” (self-reflection?) that I wanted to again assert the prescience of the 19th century as regards our current scientific moment. Morse Peckham on Browning: We never know what we are doing. It is only after it is done that we can create constructs which […]

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Maurice Manning Reads “Binsey Poplars”

Below is a link to a reading of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “Binsey Poplars” by poet Maurice Manning. This reading is taken from a 2007 Interchange program on WFHB Community Radio in Bloomington, Indiana. Manning was teaching in the Creative Writing Department at the time. He’s currently on the faculty at Transylvania University–a nice place for […]

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fructus separati

Walking in the late evening with the sun still high we formed a kind of huckleberry party, you and I. […]

An Aesthetic of Possession

Walking past a green vine with a white flower growing up a street sign I reached out and touched the […]

Part I–This American Life On Animal Sacrifice

I am a casual listener of This American Life. When our family of four drives to and fro to relatives’ […]

Our Surround: A Final Word

A final word here. Power proceeds to find force unnecessary and counterproductive. This turns out to be the end of […]

Choral Rings: Stevens’ “Circled Sea”?

Stevens ends his Collected Poems with “Not Ideas About the Thing but the Thing Itself.” At the earliest ending of […]

Circle and Sway: Reading Williams’ “Flowers by the Sea”

At times the spirit moves one to attempt an explication of a poem, particularly a small one, and a famous […]