“We are, in the deepest sense, responsible for ourselves. We are, as Sartre put it, the authors of ourselves. Through the accretion of our choices, our actions, and our failures to act, we ultimately design ourselves. We cannot avoid this responsibility, this freedom. In Sartre’s terms, ‘we are condemned to freedom.’”
– Irvin D. Yalom, The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients (via creatingaquietmind)
Singapore is always (consistently) good to/for me. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to spend so much time there, and to have returned so frequently. And my experience of Singapore is largely based on the people I’ve met while I’ve been there— poets, students, teachers and more. I look forward to my next visit!
“…line breaks have everything to do with doubt. That’s why poetry is so different from prose, because it’s infused with doubt. At the moment of a line break, even if it’s for a millisecond, you’re thrust into doubt; you’re thrust into a place where you’re not certain what just happened or what’s going to happen. Only faith that the next line will land us on solid ground is what keeps us breathing.”
– Jericho Brown, from his essay The Possibility of God (via kathleenjoy)
“To save time, take time in large pieces. Do not cut time up into bits…The mind is like a locomotive. It requires time for getting under headway. Under headway it makes its own steam. Progress gives force as force makes progress. Do not slow down as long as you run well and without undue waste. Take advantage of momentum. Prolonged thinking leads to profound thinking.”
The work of a professional isn’t to recreate thrills. It’s to show up and do the work. To continue the journey you set out on a while ago. To make the change you seek to make in the universe.
Thrilling is fine. Mattering is more important.
“The thing about writing is – I reckon – that it requires a lot of space where you don’t write. You think about nothing or one very small part of a poem you aren’t happy with. Hours go by, days go by. You put on a CD. You read half a book. You walk into the next room and forget why you did. You walk back. A week goes by. A year. Then you join the French Foreign Legion.”
This: “Look at how hands move, in the official video. There’s the interplay of the Raised Hands: In the church scenes we see hands raised in praise and surrender to the God of that church; these are interspersed with shots of the extraordinarily sharp double edge of what appears to be a 12 year old black boy* dancing as hard and as well as he can in front of a row of white police officers decked out in riot gear. As the boy dances harder and harder, the praise in the church reaches a pitch, and as the congregation throws their hands up, again, in surrender, the police throw their hands up to the boy. Surrender and praise, intertwined. The recognition of something more powerful, more perfect, something worth surrendering to.”
And this: “If I learned one thing this week, it is that we are starving to see ourselves in power. We yearn to celebrate the vision of it–even when we know it is a ploy, a hologram. Our hunger, no matter how potent, no matter how righteous, cannot transfigure pop stars into revolutionaries. It cannot supplement community power with what it manages to extract from corporate media.”
I haven’t paid any attention to music videos for a while. Because time. There are only so many channels I can keep up with, and my disposable hours are increasingly limited. Of course, as a child of MTV, The Box and IDTV/BET, I sacrificed more of my youth than I can quantify watching music videos, diving beyond aesthetic titlation to appreciate how epic narratives can be spun, how socio-political commentary can be invested, how layers of depth I may not have appreciated in the simple act of listening to the music can be revealed through moving image. I’ve been trying to catch up on critical analysis of Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’, and for a moment, got sucked down a rabbit-hole. Thanks, YouTube.
All this to say: the poet/photographer/human in me has completely fallen for the attached video. That is all.
In my own work I’ve come to think about time as a form of relationality. Our stories about time tell us what is it to be with others, or to not be with them. They also tell us what kinds of forms this ‘withness’ can take. This means that time can also be seen as a form of ethical encounter. If that’s so, what are we doing when we ignore other people’s claims that they don’t have the time?
It seems that in order to treat the other ethically, you have to come to terms with your disappointment, let go of the anticipated future you had been working with, and then still have the generosity to be able to say to the person who has somehow let you down “Of course, no problems, hope things get better for you soon”.
“You go rummaging around in other people’s lives. You hear rumors and go digging for the painful truth beneath the lovely lies. You believe you have a right to these things. But you don’t.” He looked hard at the scribe. “When someone tells you a piece of their life, they’re giving you a gift, not granting you your due.”
– The Wise Man’s Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Book 2 (Kingkiller Chonicles) by Patrick Rothfuss
“What can’t be replaced in any organization imaginable in the future is precisely what seems overlooked today: liberal arts skills, such as creativity, empathy, listening, and vision. These skills, not digital or technological ones, will hold the keys to a company’s future success. And yet companies aren’t hiring for them. This is a problem for today’s digital companies, and it’s only going to get worse.”
“Every exercise of the voice is a work of fantasy, even and especially where it is simple and straightforward reality. Even where I simply employ my voice, to ask for a ticket or tell somebody the time, I am confirming the capacity of my voice to make the world in sound. The voice is the physical confirmation of my fantasy – that is no less a fantasy for being the plain truth – that I can bring about effects in the world simply by using my voice. The choral voice is an amplification of this fantasy into the fantasy of amplification itself. ‘The voice is the body’s greatest power of emanation’, Guy Rosolato writes (Rosolato 1974, 76; my translation). But chorality is that emanation raised to the second power; if my voice is that which goes beyond me, then the choral voice is the voice that goes beyond itself. It is the voice as pure amplitude, having the power both to adhere to other voices and to swell excitably like a kind of inflammation. It is not just the body’s power of emanation, it is emanation’s power to grow into a kind of hyper-body.”
– Consider this in relation to the authoring and performance of the group poem. So much to consider and experiment with…
Consider this in relation to the authoring and performance of the group poem. So much to consider and experiment with…
– I remember all of this…
I remember all of this…
“I’m dubious about ranking… I’m not sure about ranking. I’ve long suspected that what our descendants will find quaintest about us it that we made distinctions of that sort. That they’ll be looking back and they’ll be going, So strange they didn’t think Facebook was “real.” There’s a wonderful, weird book, the title of which I will probably be unable to remember, but it’s a collection of first-person accounts of Victorians encountering new technologies. It’s taken from diaries and letters—it’s not famous people, just ordinary people. The one that always struck me was an Anglican clergyman who went to a garden party, heard an Edison phonograph talking, and went home and wrote this completely terrifying description of this demonic, satanic, mechanical voice speaking to the children in the garden, and how this probably presaged the end of the world. He was just writing for himself, so he wasn’t exaggerating, and I thought, Oh, wow. He had this absolutely intense experience, but I don’t think I could say that what it caused him to fear came to pass.”
Former BYPs Antosh Wojcik and Will Tyas have a new audio production company: Post-Everything. Today, they’re making a podcast with current BYPs. And so the circle turns… (at Barbican Centre)