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Representative Texts from Hawthorne to Dickinson

In your daily busyness you are pressed for time to think and often choose instead anesthetization – watching any number of “boutique” and highly produced television shows. These may be good, but like most in the “televisual” medium, they are not meant to be indelible. I don’t just cast aspersions outward… Let us choose to […]

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LeRoi and Ornette – Becoming in Time

I was listening to a PoemTalk (PennSound) about LeRoi (Amiri Baraka) Jones’s early poem “Kenyatta Listening to Mozart“ and one of the guests mentioned that Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come came out in roughly the same year as this poem was written. Coleman’s album is 1959 and the poem was published in 1963. […]

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On Allan Sekula: In the American Grain (WFHB’s Interchange)

AUDIO LINK: Shooting the Gulf: Allan Sekula In the American Grain In his most famous essay, “Self-Reliance,” Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote perhaps his most famous sentences: “Life only avails, not the having lived. Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state, in […]

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Dislodged Giant: Can We Use Stevens to Interpret Dickinson?

You tell me. “I thought that nature was enough” by Emily Dickinson I thought that nature was enough Till Human nature came But that the other did absorb As Parallax a Flame— Of Human nature just aware There added the Divine Brief struggle for capacity The power to contain Is always as the contents But […]

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A Rule of Storytelling and Unhappiness

As my friend began reading William Morris’s News From Nowhere, or, An Epic of Rest, I thought I might take that journey too–and the existence of an audio recording guaranteed it. (Plus, what a great damn subtitle to entice a guy like me!) I’ve only just started, just now finishing Chapter 5 on this morning’s […]

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Sierpinski Schmierpinski – On What the Writer Intends

The below is from the radio program “Bookworm” (4/11/96) with Michael Silverblatt. It is an interview with David Foster Wallace about Infinite Jest and this snippet focuses on the structure of the novel (and the novelist’s intentions). MS: Yes it does, but I wanted to suggest, at least for me, that the organization of the […]

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The Tyranny of Technological Replication

I’m never sure how I can defend a critique against technology–it seems as though we have gained so much. And whenever I rant against drones or iPads (or the very device upon which I’m pecking) someone will pipe up, “I s’pose you’d prefer we didn’t have penicillin either!” Maybe. I’m really not sure. By which […]

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It Plays You: Mingus on Electric Instruments

Selections from a Charles Mingus interview from February 1972, in Mingus Speaks, by John F. Goodman. I think it’s time that good musicians get rid of electric instruments, because a good musician can’t play an electronic instrument; it plays you. For instance, if you want to bend a note, you’ve got to push a button […]

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**UPDATED**In Contradiction Against Itself: The CIA and The Government

UPDATED: 5/21 [I've added one example of Slahi's book as an illustration of the Report on Torture--there are many others I may add later.] Last night on Interchange (The State of Terror: Guantanamo Diary) the conversation centered on the literary nature of Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary.  Guest Scott Korb has written about the Diary as […]

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If You Really Want to Know the Truth: Salinger’s Influence on Mohamedou Ould Slahi

I am reading Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary. Well, actually, listening to it. You can find out a lot about it at The Guardian website dedicated to it. Something I heard and noticed I have listened to about half of the book and I had heard Slahi say this: Meanwhile, I kept getting books in […]

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Glorifying War Shall Not Grow Old

Concerning War Movies (prompted by a conversation about Peter Jackson’s movie They Shall Not Grow Old). In J. D. Salinger’s […]

Cutting Down the Clouds

This winter they are cutting down our woods more seriously than ever,—Fair Haven Hill, Walden, Linnaea Borealis Wood, etc. etc. […]

Representative Texts from Hawthorne to Dickinson

In your daily busyness you are pressed for time to think and often choose instead anesthetization – watching any number […]

Between Hope and Defeat, History and Heaven

“God himself culminates in the present moment.” (Thoreau) What is “now” for? What if you “know” the future? Fairy tales […]

Absolute Solutions Necessary

Only two things to do: 1. zero out carbon emissions 2. exception: all technological and scientific labor exploring new solutions […]

Rachel Carson’s book had no real effect

Facing Global Climate Disruption and the End of Everything All At Once… David Wallace-Wells’ The Uninhabitable Earth tries very hard […]