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david foster wallace and "something so simple, really…"

Now, I don’t really like to do a lot of reflecting on what I think Literature Ought To Be or how I think one should write. One should write. That’s it. But I was really struck by a few things in a recent New Yorker article about David Foster Wallace. I don’t even particularly like …

Sounds and sense

In the December NY Review of Books, I enjoyed an article on two new books on Robert Frost, one a novel and one a biography. This of course sinks with my interest in maybe writing a biographical novel or biography, but also it called my attention to Frost in way that I hadn’t considered before. …

"this suffering business"

In one of Bishop’s letter’s — sent in a time just around her own alcoholic breakdown and Lowell’s first manic episode — she slips in the following comment between chatter about lobster pounds and Eliot’s criticism: “Sometimes I wish we could have a more sensible conversation about this suffering business, anyway. I imagine we actually …

Biography, mania and mysticism

Out of basically voyeuristic interest, I dug up a Robert Lowell biography at the university library today. Some of his person comes through in the letters to Bishop, but from the sketchy details of his mania and instability in the introduction, you get the impression that there must have been other sides of his character …

Letters

“We’d rather have the iceberg than the ship,although it meant the end of travel.” – E. Bishop On this shockingly cold day for the Northwest, I’ve just begun reading the letters of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. After pouring over reviews of this collection the NY times book review, the New yorker, and the poetry …

astrology , therapy, Husserl?

Today I met an astrologer who knew Husserl. No, that’s not a typo folks: I don’t mean “astronomer.” I was sitting at Peet’s coffee and this man comes up to me — after some chitchat about the Sunday market that made our coffee spot too busy — and asks me what I’m working on . …

blake on mourning

I love Blake. I bought a Dover Thrift edition just to have him near me. Here’s a quote on mourning from “On Another’s Sorrow” “Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,And thy maker is not by;Think not thou canst weep a tear,And thy maker is not near. O! He gives to us his joyThat our …

art-life-art-life, etc, etc.

Last night I had a dream that I recognized a poem by E. Barett-Browning in a book that someone had disguised as Wordsworth (someone she parodies / contends with). I’m not sure what the dream was about, but I flipped open my copy of Aurora Leigh and found a passage that echoes what I was …

Intruder

Intruder. What a catchy title. Violation can be so seductive. What has been violated? Or whom? By whom ? Who’s on the inside now? What was valuable or taken? I for one was hooked by this title of Jill Bialosky’s new book. That said, I don’t actually enjoy all of the poems — she mentions …

pursuit

I’ve been reading more philosophy than poetry, but since most of it has been written by Merleau-Ponty, it’s still pretty beautiful writing. He says: we are each ” a being which is in pursuit of itself outside” (PP 451). We are chasing after our own motivations that lead us away from our bodies toward other …