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J. L . Borges – Reading for Pleasure

August 24th, 2014
  • 1BorgesBallard

    Borges and J. G.Ballard.. Photo by Sophie Baker

    MM: Burroughs, like Borges, showed us what it was possible to do. Neither Borges nor Burroughs were available to us until about 1960 or so. I first heard Borges’s stories related to me by a Spanish-speaking Swede while hitch-hiking from Uppsala to Paris. It was a while before City Lights, I think it was, brought out the first translations. Burroughs wasn’t a disappointment, when we finally met him, but Borges was. Burroughs pretty much lived as he wrote, while Borges was a rather conservative man with a keen interest in G. K. Chesterton.

  • A Literary Hedonist in the classroom :on Professor Borges.

  • Riddle of Poetry J.L. Borges google braille
    (“One day Cartier-Bresson received a telephone call from the writer JL Borges, who wished to know whether he would be willing to accept a prize for which Borges wanted to nominate him. Read more here) The gift from a blind poet

  • Two new books about Borges (New Yorker)

  • Read The Aleph here.

    Jan Palach – A Poem by David Shapiro & his collaboration with architect John Hejduk

    August 11th, 2014
  • Jan Palach 1aJanPalachchild
    Jan Palach was born on 11 August 1948- an activist who set himself on fire in in 1969.. Palach’s protest caused extraordinary reaction both in the Czech Republic and abroad.

    These web pages present the life story of Jan Palach

    His schoolmates liked him for his nice and friendly nature. He was quiet, pensive, and very well-read. Since his early childhood, he was interested in nature, technology, and history.

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    Poetry and Architecture, Architecture and Poetry
    by John Hejduk David Shapiro

    The Funeral of Jan Palach

    When I entered the first meditation
    I escaped the gravity of the object,
    I experienced the emptiness,
    And I have been dead a long time.

    When I had a voice you could call a voice,
    My mother wept to me:
    My son, my beloved son,
    I never thought this possible

    I’ll follow you on foot.
    Halfway in mud and slush the microphones picked up.
    It was raining on the houses;
    It was snowing on the police-cars.

    The astronauts were weeping,
    Going neither up nor out.
    And my own mother was brave enough she looked
    And it was alright I was dead.

    —David Shapiro

    When I read of the sacrifice of Jan Palach, I was reading of a heroism toward which I had aspired but recoiled. But it is not for everyone to be such a sacrifice, as many have said, it is not even easy to be a disciple of such a hero. Indeed, Palach finally asked others to refrain from a mechanical martyrdom.

    1archjanPalach

    On the art of collaboration
    He is perhaps most proud of his long collaboration with the late architect John Hejduk, who served as dean of Cooper Union’s school of architecture for many years. In 1991, a poem Shapiro had written about the Czechoslovak student Jan Palach, who set himself on fire in 1969 to protest the Soviet invasion, was engraved on a plaque as part of a memorial designed by Hejduk and mounted on the grounds of Prague Castle in the Czech Republic.

    Sketch for house of suicide by John Hejduk

  • Pataphysics – interview of David Shapiro

  • Two Films on Percy Bysshe Shelley – Haunted Summer & A Shape Of Error + His Sketches

    August 4th, 2014
  • Two Films on Percy Bysshe Shelley – Haunted Summer & A Shape Of Error.

  • 1) Haunted Summer

  • 2) A Shape of Error – by Abigail Child (Vimeo trailer here)

    An experimental l6mm feature, A Shape of Error is based on the life of Percy Bysshe Shelley and his second wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley— writers whose lives forecast the modern in their concern for women, free love and labor. Child retells their story as an imaginary home movie, using strategies developed in her earlier films—The Future Is Behind You (2004-05) and Covert Action (1984)— to shape a new kind of narrative. With sound by the acclaimed composer Zeena Parkins (who has worked with John Zorn and Bijork), non-actors in the lead roles and silently shot with Child’s l6mm camera, A Shape of Error is an original—startlingly emotional and engrossing.

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    Sketches of Sailing Boats by Shelley

    Sailing was Shelley’s favourite pursuit in the last year of his life, first on the rivers Serchio and Arno, and latterly off the coast. Rough sketches of sailing vessels are dotted about his notebooks, and many of his poems contain evocative images of boats, rivers and the sea. ‘Rivers are not like roads’, he wrote to Peacock in July 1816, ‘the work of the hands of man; they imitate mind, which wanders at will over pathless deserts, and flows through nature’s loveliest recesses, which are inaccessible to anything besides.’

    Guitar 1bGuitarShelley presented by Shelley to his friend Jane Williams

    Percy Bysshe Shelley – born on 4 August 1792

    Shelley became an idol of the next three or four generations of poets, including important Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite poets such as Robert Browning and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. He was admired by Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, W. B. Yeats, Karl Marx, Upton Sinclair and Isadora Duncan.[3] Henry David Thoreau’s civil disobedience was apparently influenced by Shelley’s non-violence in protest and political action.

    Cactus & Dwarf Orchard – Summer Solstice 2014

    June 21st, 2014
  • R.I.P Charles Barsotti

    Charles Barsotti, New Yorker artist was master cartoonist a true original and a nice guy to boot.

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    Photo by Fung Lin Hall

  • After Reading Tu Fu, I Go Outside to the Dwarf Orchard

    East of me, west of me, full summer.
    How deeper than elsewhere the dusk is in your own yard.
    Birds fly back and forth across the lawn
    looking for home
    As night drifts up like a little boat.

    Day after day, I become of less use to myself.
    Like this mockingbird,
    I flit from one thing to the next.
    What do I have to look forward to at fifty-four?
    Tomorrow is dark.
    Day-after-tomorrow is darker still.

    The sky dogs are whimpering.
    Fireflies are dragging the hush of evening
    up from the damp grass.
    Into the world’s tumult, into the chaos of every day,
    Go quietly, quietly.

    Charles Wright

    (via)

    Charles Wright named American Poet Laureate..

  • Coming to Play with Kobayashi Issa, Robert Hass and Beth Levin

    June 15th, 2014

    Goes out come back the love life of my cat.

    Even with insect some can sing some can’t

  • Kobayashi Issa (小林 一茶 born on June 15, 1763)

    It’s the birthday of Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa born in Kashiwabara, Japan (1763). He’s one of the masters of the Japanese form of poetry called haiku, which uses 17 Japanese characters broken into three distinct units. He spent most of his adult life traveling around Japan, writing haiku, keeping a travel diary, and visiting shrines and temples across the country. By the end of his life, he had written more than 20,000 haiku celebrating the small wonders of everyday life.

    (via Facebook Beth Levin)

    Friends of Beth Levin enjoy her frequent posting of haikus by Issa.
    For Issa’s birthday, two haikus hand picked by Beth Levin

    1)

    Looking at me the pheasant on tiptoe on tiptoe ~ Issa {year unknown}

    2)

    Massaging my back with the pine tree’s gnarl… evening cool 1815 .松瘤で肩たたきつつ夕涼 matsu kobu de kata tataki tsutsu yûsuzumi “Massage” here is hard, Japanese-style pounding (tataki).

    P.S. Happy birthday, Issa!!! He was born in the little village of Kashiwabara in the mountains of Japan’s Shinano Province on the fifth day of Fifth Month, 1763: June 15 on the Western calendar

  • Beth Levin Piano (homepage)

    Beth Levin plays Beethoven here. (youtube)

  • 1bethIssa

  • (Calligraphy by Issa)

    Haiku Issa

    Come and play,
    little orphan sparrow-
    play with me!
    The poem was probably written years later in reflection on the incident, but Issa displayed enough literary ability in his youth to attract the attention of the proprietor of the lord’s residence, a man skilled in calligraphy and haiku poetry, who believed that Issa would be a good companion for his own son. He invited Issa to attend a school he operated in partnership with a scholar in Chinese studies who was also a haiku poet. Issa could attend the school only at night and on holidays-sometimes carrying his stepbrother on his back-when he was not compelled to assist with farm chores, but this did not prevent him from cultivating his literary inclinations.

  • Google Kobayashi Issa (4 haikus with illustrations here)

  • One of Issa’s haiku, as translated by R.H. Blyth, appears in J. D. Salinger’s 1961 novel, Franny and Zooey:
    O snail
    Climb Mount Fuji,
    But slowly, slowly! (via wiki)

  • Previous post Robert Hass

    Gary Snyder – Reality Insight

    May 7th, 2014

  • Happy birthday Gary Snyder (May 8 1930)

    “Range after range of mountains.
    Year after year after year.
    I am still in love.”
    ― Gary Snyder

    “Clouds sink down the hills
    Coffee is hot again. The dog
    Turns and turns about, stops and sleeps.”
    ― Gary Snyder, Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems

    Reality Insight (poem on youtube)

    Poetry foundation

    ”Poetry a riprap on the slick rock of metaphysics”
    “Once Only almost at the equator almost at the
    equinox
    exactly at midnight from a ship the full moon in the center of the sky.”

  • Iain Sinclair meets Gary Snyder (The Man In the Clearing)

  • Snyder on Kerouac

    The dialectic that I observed in Jack, which was kind of charming, really, and you see it at work in his novels, was that be could play the fool and he could play the student very well. “But see, I really don’t know anything about this. Teach me!” “Wow! You really know how to do that?” and lead you on. ‘I’hat was balanced by sometimes great authoritativeness and great arrogance, and he would suddenly say, “I am the authority.” But then he would get out of that again. It was partly maybe like a really skillful novelist’s con, to get people to speak. And be uses that as a literary device in his novels, where he presents himself often as the straight guy and he lets the other guys be smart.

    I much appreciated what he had to say about spontaneous prose, although I never wrote prose. I think it influenced my journal writing a lot, some of which would, say, be registered in the book Earth House Hold. I think that I owe a lot to Jack in my prose style, actually. And my sense of poetics has been touched by Jack for sure.

    Our interchanges on Buddhism were on the playful and delightful level of exchanging the lore, exchanging what we knew about it, what he thought of Mahayana. He made up names. He would follow on the Mahayana Sutra invention of lists, and he would invent more lists, like the names of all the past Buddhas, the names of all the future Buddhas, the names of all the other universes. He was great at that. But it was not like a pair of young French intellectuals sitting down comparing their structural comprehension of something. We exchanged lore. And I would tell him, “Now look. Here are these Chinese Buddhists,” and that’s how we ended up talking about the Han-shan texts together, and I introduced him to the texts that give the anecdotes of the dialogues and confrontations between T’ang Dynasty masters and disciples, and of course he was delighted by that. Anybody is. ‘I’hat’s what we did.

    Spero, Woodman and Carruth

    April 3rd, 2014

  • (Nancy Spero at her studio)

    More Nancy Spero here.

  • Click to see larage

    Francesca Woodman
    (via)
    April 3, 1958 – January 19, 1981

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    Lucille Clifton and Hayden Carruth

    He did read the prominent poets Ben Johnson, William Yeats, and Ezra Pound, but added that “the real question is not by whom I was influenced, but how.” To Miller, Carruth’s early grounding in traditional poetic forms prepared him to “improvise” later on, much like the way jazz musicians often study classical music early in their training: “The discipline must precede the rejection of discipline.”

  • At Seventy-Five: Rereading An Old Book

    My prayers have been answered, if they were prayers. I live.
    I’m alive, and even in rather good health, I believe.
    If I’d quit smoking I might live to be a hundred.
    Truly this is astonishing, after the poverty and pain,
    The suffering. Who would have thought that petty
    Endurance could achieve so much?
    And prayers –
    Were they prayers? Always I was adamant
    In my irreligion, and had good reason to be.
    Yet prayer is not, I see in old age now,
    A matter of doctrine or discipline, but rather
    A movement of the natural human mind
    Bereft of its place among the animals, the other
    Animals. I prayed. Then on paper I wrote
    Some of the words I said, which are these poems.

    Anonymous Submission
    Hayden Carruth

    Bye Bill Knot – A Language Composed of Kisses & Leaves

    March 13th, 2014
  • Bill Knott -1940 – 2014

    that Bill passed away yesterday from complications with surgery. The inventive, subversive, and immensely influential poet was 74.

    Knott, who was an orphan, spent a year in an institution for the mentally ill in Elgin, Illinois, when he was 15; he worked with his uncle at a farm in Michigan, spent two years in the army, and wrote his first book while working as a hospital orderly. He taught for many years at Emerson College in Boston.

    Death by Bill Knott

    Going to sleep, I cross my hands on my chest.
    They will place my hands like this.
    It will look as though I am flying into myself.

  • Knotty Knotty Boy (Richard Hell on Bill Knott)

    NUREMBURG U.S.A.

    In this time and place, where “Bread and Circuses” has
    become “Bread and Atrocities,” to say “I love you” is
    like saying the latest propaganda phrase… ‘defoliation’… ‘low yield blast’.
    If bombing children is preserving peace, then
    my fucking you is a war-crime.

  • Michael Andre

    I thought at first that someone was repeating the old joke about Saint Geraud.
    Knott faked his suicide years ago, and then had his work ascribed to “Saint Geraud.”

  • Bill Knot Art blog

    Interview I

  • Click to see large and read a poem The Lost

  • Interview Harriett (He was reading Patricia Highsmith)

    What language will be safe
    When we lie awake all night
    Saying palm words, no fingertip words
    This wound searching us for a voice
    Will become a fountain with rooms to let
    Or a language composed of kisses and leaves

    Feminlist – Nancy Cunard & Sophie Le Fraga

    March 10th, 2014
  • Photo of Nancy Cunard by Moffet

    Some of Moffat’s best portraits were of Nancy Cunard (1896-1965), a prolific English writer, editor, publisher, political activist, anarchist and poet. She was associated with the Dada and Modernist movements in Paris during the early 1920s when she and Moffat became friends and lovers. Moffat photographed her in a series of inventive poses wearing this extravagant feathered headdress.

    Nancy Cunard was born into the British upper class and devoted much of her life to fighting racism and fascism. She became a muse to some of the 20th century’s most distinguished writers and artists, including Wyndham Lewis, Aldous Huxley, Tristan Tzara, Ezra Pound and Louis Aragon, who were among her lovers, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Constantin Brâncuși, Langston Hughes, Man Ray, and William Carlos Williams. MI5 documents reveal that she was involved with Indian socialist leader VK Krishna Menon. In later years, she suffered from mental illness, and her physical health deteriorated. She died at age 69, weighing only 26 kilos (57 pounds), in the Hôpital Cochin, Paris.

    <> <> <> <>

  • I love a bangle stack (scroll down to see a photo of Nancy with unknown women)

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    Sophia Le Fraga homepage.

    Interview with Sophia Le Fraga

    Drumroll please Sophia Le Fraga

  • Robert Fitterman introduces Sophie

    Feminlist

    womenthol cigarettes
    womanchego cheese
    womanila envelopes
    womandala
    womandolin
    womannequin
    womanicure
    womansion
    Charles Womanson
    Marilyn Womanson
    Womandy Moore
    Paul Newoman
    Newoman’s Own
    sediwomentary rock
    womanatee
    womanta ray
    praying womantis
    salawomander
    womandarin
    womango
    womantle
    diswomantle
    Gerwoman
    Womanhattan
    womanic depression
    womental disorder
    womaniac
    Prewomenstrual Syndrome
    hywomen
    womanslaughter
    womention
    cewoment
    cowomment
    cowommendable
    repriwomandible
    monuwomental
    ornawomental
    womanager
    womentor
    elewoment
    womandible
    rowomance
    browomance

    -Sophia Le Fraga

    Joan Mitchell & Frank O’Hara – A Look at Their Friendship

    February 12th, 2014
  • Frank and Joan

    See more on Joan Mitchell installaion and her friendship with Frank O’Hara here (Poetry installaton)

    At last you are tired of being single
    the effort to be new does not upset you nor the effort to be other
    you are not tired of life together (Frank’s poem to Joan Mitchell)

    Click to see large 1941
    Joan Mitchel was a junior champion.

    During high school, Mitchell excels as an athlete and becomes a highly competitive figure skater, entering Midwestern and national championships. In 1941, Mitchell wins the Midwest Junior Pairs Title with ice-skating partner Bobby Specht, and in 1942, she places Fourth in the Junior Women’s Division of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. A knee injury later ends her skating career. – See more here

    Trained as a pianist, he called writing “playing the typewriter.

  • Joan Mitchell and Barney Rosset Joan Mitchell Painting(Part II of Barney/Michell archive)

  • To the Habormaster – Joan’s reponse to Frank O’Hara

    To the Harbormaster (Poem by Frank O’Hara)

    I wanted to be sure to reach you;

    though my ship was on the way it got caught

    in some moorings. I am always tying up
    and then deciding to depart. In storms and
    at sunset, with the metallic coils of the tide
    around my fathomless arms, I am unable
    to understand the forms of my vanity
    or I am hard alee with my Polish rudder
    in my hand and the sun sinking. To
    you I offer my hull and the tattered cordage
    of my will. The terrible channels where
    the wind drives me against the brown lips
    of the reeds are not all behind me. Yet
    I trust the sanity of my vessel; and
    if it sinks, it may well be in answer
    to the reasoning of the eternal voices,
    the waves which have kept me from reaching you.

    R.I.P Maxine Kumin – (1925–2014)

    February 8th, 2014
  • Poetry Foundation -Maxine Kumin (1925–2014)

  • Angels from streets of gold
    benignly looked on this,
    God’s wonders to behold.
    Both sides stood by unhorsed
    while Nature ran its course.

    Read the poem “Going to Jerusalem” by Maxine Kumin (Paris Review) (see a nice photo montage)

  • From story: ” …Ms. Sexton’s suicide shook Ms. Kumin deeply. “A month after your death I wear your blue jacket,” she wrote in a poem, “How It Is.” It continues:

    The dog at the center of my life recognizes

    you’ve come to visit, he’s ecstatic.

    In the left pocket, a hole.

    In the right, a parking ticket

    delivered up last August on Bay State Road.

    In my heart, a scatter like milkweed,

    a flinging from the pods of the soul. ”

    via Lilyaradiohead

  • Maxine Kumin dies at 88

    Ms. Kumin’s style defied tidy categorization. Though her poems and essays centered on the New England countryside, she trafficked in none of the sentimental effusions of traditional pastoral poets. Her dark, ironic poem “Highway Hypothesis” made clear just what she thought of such unexamined romanticizing:

    Bucophilia, I call it —

    nostalgia over a pastoral vista —

    where for all I know the farmer

    who owns it or rents it just told his

    wife he’d kill her if she left him and

    she did and he did and now here come

    the auctioneer, the serious bidders

    and an ant-train of gawking onlookers.

    George Balanchine & Arthur Mitchell (An African American Dancer)

    January 22nd, 2014

  • George Balanchine and Arhtur Mitchell

    Mitchell shares interesting stories about Balanchine. (youtube) or whyPad de deux was so controversial (youtube)

    Arthur Mitchell is an African-American dancer and choreographer who created a training school and the first African-American classical ballet company, Dance Theatre of Harlem.
    In 1955 Mitchell made his debut as the first African American with the New York City Ballet
    Mitchell was the only African-American dancer with the NY City Ballet until 1970. Choreographer and director of the NYCB George Balanchine created the pas de deux in Agon especially for Mitchell and the white ballerina Diana Adams. Although Mitchell danced this role with white partners throughout the world, he could not perform it on commercial television in the United States before 1965, because states in the South refused to carry it.

    Arthur Mitchell

    Slim dragon-fly
    too rapid for the eye
    to cage,

    contagious gem of virtuosity
    make visible, mentality.
    Your jewels of mobility

    reveal
    and veil
    a peacock-tail.

    — by Marianne Moore

  • Other related links..
    4 temperaments - Portraits of Paul Hindemith -

  • THe Unknown Balanchine.. (Balanchine’s early years)

    George Balanchine was born on January 22 [O.S. January 9] 1904.