“The vast accumulations of knowledge—or at least of information—deposited by the nineteenth century have been responsible for an equally vast ignorance. When there is so much to be known, when there are so many fields of knowledge in which the same words are used with different meanings, when every one knows a little about a great many things, it becomes increasingly difficult for anyone to know whether he knows what he is talking about or not. And when we do not know, or when we do not know enough, we tend always to substitute emotions for thoughts.”
- T. S. Eliot, “The Perfect Critic" (via grandhotelabyss)
“At some point, in other words, there’s no way getting around the necessity to clear your calendar, shut down your phone, and spend several hard days trying to make sense of the damn proof.”
The Empty Sky Paradox: Why Are Stars (in Your Professional Field) So Rare? - Study Hacks - Cal Newport
Alternatively known as “how I currently feel.” Just trying to get something valuable done.
“This juxtaposition of space and text—each poem in the cycle adheres to the same format—creates multiple effects. First of all, and by far the simplest of all possible explanations in my mind, would be that open space creates a field for the reader to imagine the absent, roughly two-dimensional, visual surface that triggers the writing. But a far more interesting explanation, made possible by Bleakney’s aesthetic choices, is that the field created by the space allows the speaker to create a three-dimensional absence which she may fill with her own internal weather, a process in which the speaker becomes the painting’s ego, and eventually even a superimposed alter-ego for the painter herself, who remains mostly absent, in terms of fact. Throughout the cycle—other than a reference to her birthplace, we get very little information about the painter herself—but she remains ever-present through the speaker’s entreaties. The speaker evokes Owens directly, or more particularly, the Owens she is in the business of creating”
“20 PAINTINGS BY LAURA OWENS” BY ELAINE BLEAKNEY | Stitched, Stapled, Bound
Lamenting the fact that this chapbook appears to have sold out. That said, Bleakney’s next collection is out in April. Looking forward to picking up a copy.
“To me that’s not the problem with what books are doing. I don’t think people are trying to convey a message. I think people are just showing off. Writers are trying to show their skill. They’re trying to show off—“I’m a great writer”—and they’re not trying enough to communicate.”
- Sheila Heti
"You have to care… You cannot do superior work if you’re indifferent… Otherwise, it’s just a job…"
William Albert Allard on the Passion From Within
Confession Machine | Liat Segal (by Liat Segal)
"The Confession Machine prints online texts that fade away as time passes, just like the confession itself. The machine prints on a surface painted with an ultra violate sensitive pigment. While passing over the surface, it turns on and off 16 UV LEDs in a carefully timed sequence, temporarily creating dots and dashes on the surface. Those are added into letters, words and sentences.
"The intimate and revealing printed texts are taken from social networks, showing the lightness of confessions via online channels today. People today willingly share personal details of their lives via the digital medium. At the same time the importance people give to online confessions is small and temporary in its nature. One sees a reviling status, may get excited, like, comment, even share, and forget it. That is the life cycle of an online confession. It is also a paradox as all this personal information now stays on a virtual limbo, forever exposed.
"The Confession Machine uses the technology of repeatable writing using light (developed by the Bloomfield Science Museum Jerusalem) to show the temporary nature and lightheadedness of online confessions. A confession is printed and fades away. A new confession immediately takes our attention. Sometime a confession starts fading ever before the entire sentence was completed."
Openin.gs— shares great first lines from books, poems, articles, songs and movies. Among other things, it’s useful as a source for potential writing prompts.
Mmmm. Mapping Dr King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in fine fashion. Next thought: what if this were an interface for a poem?
“Skryf is the mobile writing machine that uses sand to write out the words of poems. The machine was adapted from an old CNC milling machine, controlled via laptop, with software that van Bon developed himself. While the device made its debut during Dutch Design Week, van Bon has used it in multiple countries to present the works of famous poets – eternal words present only for a moment, before being swept away by the crowd or the wind.”
- Poetry Made Of Lines Of Sand [That] Disappear Without A Trace [Video] - PSFK
“Just last month, I attended a number of poetry readings. One stands out more than the others, but not for the reasons you might think. It was at the university where I work. The poet gave some staggering statistics, claiming that in 1950, there were only 100 or so poets publishing in the English language, and today there are over 20,000. This left me wondering, with so many poets out there, why is it so hard to find one that tells me something about my life? Of course, it only took a few minutes to answer the question when this esteemed, award-winning poet delivered his poems. As one of my colleagues would later say, “It was like he ripped down the middle of the newspaper and just read it to us.” I suddenly felt excluded from an elite (or elitist) club. For the next twenty minutes I sat there listening to him wishing I had been closer to the exit. The poet made it a point to tell us one of the poems he read was part of a longer poem he’d been working on since 1975 or something like that. All those years and not one goddamned thing to tell me about my life. In his defense, he gave the disclaimer that only he could understand some of the references because they were personal. Which left me wondering, how much was the college paying this guy? And what were all these young people in the audience supposed to get out of this?”
- » PANIC ON THE STREETS OF POETRY by Clint Margrave Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century
“I don’t care how shy poets are; I’m sick of their introversion being inflicted on me via their bad readings. The second you stand up in front of an audience, you owe that audience a well articulated reading–not a performance, but most certainly a presence. Of course this would affect how poetry is written as well. Eloquence and the use of good rhetorical devices instead of syntactical sloppiness and an over reliance on images might start to prevail.”
Tips for Doing a Poetry Reading
And this comes right around the time I’m starting to think about a set of challenges for Barbican Poets, with their showcase event coming up at the end of March…
“There are two ways to look at your life: what happened to you or what you did.”
- Frank Chimero × Blog
“It seems that in the past, there were large parts of your identity you were forced to leave behind when you traveled, and in the absence of those things, not only did other people forget you, but you forgot yourself. And rather than being a[n] entirely negative thing, maybe this had the effect of softening that identity, of making you define yourself less from the books you’d read or the connections you’d had with others. Maybe one of the side effects of travel, and for some the main objective, was and still is to peel back some of those layers of identity, so that you can see that the whole notion isn’t built on anything solid or fixed to begin with. And maybe if you see your identity as less fixed, then you’re more open to change, to reinvention, more open to the world as it crashes down on the shore at your feet.”
- Out to Sea But Not, via Jack Cheng
Truth be told, I’m still trying to get my head around being back (in London; at work, etc). I haven’t settled back into a routine yet, and there’s a part of me that values the looseness of thought, the different relationship with time…
Part of the routine that hasn’t yet settled is the social media presence. My Twitter account’s been unloved recently. I’m only just coming back to Tumblr. Facebook… well, I’m not really an ardent Facebook user at the best of times. It’s been good to take a step back and take a breath from it all, to allow for some silence.
Cranking up. Slowly.
Early doors at this evening’s #BARPo meet-up. First of the year. Things to do: discuss projects, check up on each member’s personal progress, write. #vscocam
Last #BARPo session of the year… See you poets in 2014… #vscocam
“Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like. That’s what leads people to try to write novels, for example. They like reading novels. They notice that people who write them win Nobel prizes. What could be more wonderful, they think, than to be a novelist? But liking the idea of being a novelist is not enough; you have to like the actual work of novel-writing if you’re going to be good at it; you have to like making up elaborate lies. Prestige is just fossilized inspiration. If you do anything well enough, you’ll make it prestigious. Plenty of things we now consider prestigious were anything but at first. Jazz comes to mind—though almost any established art form would do. So just do what you like, and let prestige take care of itself. Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige. That’s the recipe for getting people to give talks, write forewords, serve on committees, be department heads, and so on. It might be a good rule simply to avoid any prestigious task. If it didn’t suck, they wouldn’t have had to make it prestigious.”
How to Do What You Love
Ignore the link-bait/self-help title. Read this piece. Now.
I haven’t chased prestige in my career, but having this thought in mind would have saved me a great deal of pain on more than one occasion…
“HOW TO AVOID WRITING A POEM.
Decide that the poet you think yourself to be should determine the poems you write.
At times I’ve avoided pursuing lines of poetic inquiry in order to perform a kind of irrepressible proliferation of new ideas. I am Innovative™, yes? Yet how many times can I quit pursuit before a so-called innovation is just a gesture? Just a special effect?
I find myself on a Q&A. Another writer asks about how to stop writer’s block. One of my answers: there’s a poem demanding you write it. For whatever reason, you refuse. Thus, that poem is clogging the way for others. Write that poem.
I believe that. But I resist it. Sure, I tend to know precisely what poem is clamoring for attention. But as if to somehow muzzle it, I imagine I have it worked out already. Writing it is a formality. I know how it must go because I know the poet I am.
The tricky thing is, if I tell myself I know how it’s going to be, what I’m certainly going to write, I don’t have to write it because I’ll learn nothing from it.”
- POEM : Douglas Kearney : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation
The challenge at Barbican Poets last night was to generate instructions for a new poetic form, write an example poem and share that new form with other poets in the group (the new form doesn’t really exist until a few other people have written poems with it). There was a limited number of copies, and everyone had to take two different forms, so no form would be left unsubstantiated. Beautiful moment: a scrum of poets, each trying to secure the poetic form they were most excited by… #BYP
I am in the habit of saying: “Every poem is an opportunity to destroy my career.”
When I say it, I imagine completely new work. Maybe I abandon the typographic experiments of The Black Automaton in exchange for a more traditional sonnet crown. Or I leave behind my investigations into manhood for poems about birds. I mean to surprise readers who have come to expect a particular kind of poem from me. I mean to surprise myself as well.
I want it to mean that I am not afraid of trying something different, that I am not privileging my previous gestures, hiding behind what I know.
But what it doesn’t mean, necessarily, is that I write the poem that demands to be written. You can spend a lot of time not writing such a poem.”
- POEM : Douglas Kearney : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation