“My own definition of art is that it is a survival device, that it is a device to help the human species to survive. If it were not, it would not have persisted so long in human culture. So you ask the question, well what is it that artists do that helps the culture survive, or what can it do? And all it can do, in my judgment, is make you attentive. Art is like a meditation, which is that in the presence of art, you become more aware of what is real. And that distinction between what is illusion and what is real is a very necessary distinction in human experience…
Do your work. There isn’t anything else. I tell the story of when I studied with Giorgio Morandi in Bologna in the early 50s. He’d never talk about art. But if you took a copper plate and were about to put it in the acid and etch it without knowing what would happen, he would always say, Coraggio. Courage. And that’s what you have to have, you have to basically be willing to plunge into life and do your work.”
What’s the kinetic quality of the group piece? How does it move through its ideas/themes/images/epiphan[y/ies]? How can you conduct/score/orchestrate a dynamic in that movement?
Think of the group poem as a piece of music… How do you script a dynamic musical movement?
Notes from tonight’s BYPoets workshop on devising group poems…
Today. At @tate Modern. With @BARpoetry poets, @BYPoets and students from Corfe Hills. Writing poems in response to work contained in the building. Ekphrasis, yes. Sharing poems from 17:00 onwards. To any of the young poets I work with who might have the time— message me if you’d like to stop by, support and hear what’s produced.
“This is why Kafka said, “A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us,” or why Shelley remembers “the hour which burst / My spirit’s sleep.” The fact is, our spirit has a tendency to slumber and we constantly need awakenings, which is what art does and what a liberal education focused on the humanities should do.”
- William Deresiewicz (via austinkleon)
“What is the value of poetry? I think that poetry, at its most crucial, helps us cope with our lives and experiences. It doesn’t so much gloss them for us as provide an act of recognition of the complexity of our lives. I think that’s important—the choice toward the complex. I think of it as a kind of handrail along the mountain—it lets the reader know that the human experience is not a wasteland—someone has been there before. I wish I believed that poetry could change the world politically, but in our current cultural climate where poetry is so devalued, I don’t see it. That’s ok—poetry survives because, like insects, poetry is both small and powerful. It can hide in the cracks. In a sense, it survives precisely because it is small and underfunded. That gives it a kind of integrity that one doesn’t see in the larger commercial world.”
- First Book Interviews: #52 - Anne Shaw
“I can’t help but approach science and history from the standpoint of language. Because I’m a writer, sure, but also because that’s where those things truly live. Science can produce the greatest poetry of the age. Even headline writing at otherwise sober institutions like phys.org take on mad poetry, just because that’s the way things are now. Actual headline: “Multifractals suggest the existence of an unknown physical mechanism on the Sun.” An UNKNOWN PHYSICAL MECHANISM ON THE SUN. Just let that sink in. Because that bit alone is some demented Lovecraftian genius. Which may only be topped by THIS actual headline about the NASA NuStar satellite: “NuStar captures possible ‘screams’ from zombie stars.””
The Poetry Of Science | MORNING, COMPUTER
Now following Warren Ellis’s blog.
“Regardless of how brilliant and indispensable we think we are, everything we will do today is categorically dependent upon thousands of other people. Regardless of how menial and rote we think our job is, everything we will do today intersects this immense web of ingenuity and creation. We are all nodes in the network.”
- Why Nobody Knows How to Make a Pencil
“The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not. It is our most precious resource. The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become. The more we blame others or external circumstances, the more negative and compromised our energy is likely to be.”
- The Power of Full Engagement
“The total time taken to respond to an email is often MORE than the time it took to create it.
Because even though it’s quicker to read than to write, five other factors outweigh this:
- Emails often contain challenging, open-ended questions that can’t rapidly be responded to
- It’s really easy to copy and paste extra text into emails. (Email creation time is almost the same. Reading time soars.)
- It’s really easy to add links to other pages, or video (each capable of consuming copious gobbets of time)
- It’s really easy to cc multiple people
- The act of processing an email consists of more than just reading. There is a) scanning an in-box, b) deciding which ones to open, c) opening them, d) reading them e) deciding how to respond f) responding g) getting back into the flow of your other work.
So the arrival of even a two-sentence email that is simply opened, read and deleted can take a minimum of 30-60 seconds out of your available cognitive time.
This means that every hour someone spends writing and sending email, may well be extracting more than an hour of the world’s available attention – and generating a further hour or more of new email. That is not good.”
Help Create an Email Charter! - TEDChris: The untweetable
The email charter website is currently down. Another reminder of how impermanent the web is.
I have a “first time” email signature (telephone number, Twitter handle, website and so on), and an email signature that goes out to anyone I’ve emailed more than once. I’m of the opinion that once we’ve been in contact via email, you really don’t need to be reminded of my telephone number, website, various job titles or where you can buy my collections with every new piece of correspondence. I have a sneaking suspicion that we become blind to the information contained in email signatures anyway— the same way we learn to tune out banner ads and billboards.
My everyday signature (the one you get if we’ve already exchanged emails) used to point exclusively to the email charter. Now the charter is down, I’m redirecting to the post above. It’s not as succinct, but hopefully it’ll do a similar job. That said: the email signature blindness I referred to above dictates that only a handful of the people I interact with via email will actually notice. While I’ve been pleasantly surprised in the past by the odd individual who adopted some of the thinking suggested by the charter, or commented on what a good idea it was, or themselves went on to adopt it, I’m guessing that the facts that a) no one else in my contact list picked up on the fact that emailcharter.org is down, and b) in the couple of years for which I’ve supported the email charter, no one has actually called me out for failing any of its proposed edicts, mean that few people will notice the change.
Still, that’s no reason not to try to make my inbox a better place. Or to at least attempt to help people understand why I try to spend as little time there as possible…
Graphic study; page from a notebook (PA/NY/TO 2014)
“Any nuance or metaphor gets lost on an engine such as Google: search “sorrow”, for example, and you’ll get pictures of people crying, whereas a human might associate a more varied range of images, such as a foggy seascape or an empty forest. This is because computers use metadata (the data search engines associate with the millions of digital objects out there, from YouTube videos to Instagram pictures) in a completely different way to the human brain. Our human “metadata” tends to be far more symbolic and less literal. But what if an image bank was populated by poems? Can robots learn from our view of the world?”
- Can Google be taught poetry? | Technology | The Guardian
What? That time of year again? Already? ;)
“I do see the poet as someone whose role it is to push back against anti-intellectualism, anti-activism, and passivity in general. The purpose of this pushing back is to show that there are always infinite sides to a story, amazing unimagined perspectives on any narrative, and no limit to how weird and wild and unexpected our language and its meanings can get.”
- Brenda Shaughnessy
It’s official. I’m a Change Maker, as endorsed by London’s Southbank Centre. Just about to share a space with Joelle Taylor, Young Identity and Beat Freeks.
(First person to point out the errant hyphen gets a stern look.)