On the Great Lesson of Shutting Up : Pauline Kael

“It’s unfortunate that what people believe to be the most important things about themselves, their innermost truths and secrets – the real you or me – that we dish up when somebody looks sympathetic, is very likely to be the driveling nonsense that we generally have enough brains to forget about. The real you or me that we conceal because we think people won’t accept it is slop – and why should anybody want it?”

-from Fantasies of the Art-House Audience


Poetry Magazine : June : 2010

The mini-epic of Averill Curdy : Chimera : based on Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

Two poems from Paul Hoover God’s Promises and To the Choir Master and some lines :

On the fourth day, laughter,
and darkness saw it was good.

Also in the issue were aphorisms from the Notebook of Anna Kamienska. Here are some of my favorites :

  • The paralytic, happy, healed through Christ’s miracle -how reluctantly he parts with his crutches.
  • So things, stars, people must become my body in order to exist for me. The same holds for poetry.
  • Is the earth steeped in wise men’s ashes any wiser?
  • “Joy generalizes, pain individuates” (Hebel)
  • We don’t realize that we live atop a quagmire of cults. Every gesture, understood rightly, has its roots in some sacred archetype. How much of me is that primeval man yearning for heaven, waiting for some sudden opening of the skies and another, true time, in which everything remains and nothing passes?
  • Art relies on the conversation of even flaws and defects into positive aesthetic values. It is a strange hymn to stupidity.
  • Music teaches us the passing of time. It teaches the value of a moment by giving that moment value. And it passes. It’s not afraid to go.
  • I pray in words. I pray in poems. I want to learn to pray through breathing, through dreams and sleeplessness, through love and renunciation. I pray through snow that falls outside the window. I pray with tears that do not end.
  • I like Simone Weil’s idea that writing is actually the translation of a text we already carry within us.
  • Simone Weil: Physical work is “time that permeates the body.” This also holds for imaginative or intellectual labor. Time enters into us and transforms us.
  • When we don’t work, time flows by us, we don’t assimilate it through ourselves. Even rest should be creative, so that time doesn’t flow around us, but through us. This is art.
  • Collecting pebbles for a new mosaic of a world that I could love.
  • I’m moved by everything broken and crippled. Since that’s how we really are.
  • Plutarch: “People learn to speak from people, to be silent -from the gods.”
  • Poetry is the foretaste of truth. It is the vestibule of faith. It is contemporary poets who have turned it into smoke and mirrors.