April 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

“When I look at the city of Paris I long to wrap my legs around it.”
- Anne Carson, “Short Talk on Hedonism,”Short Talks, 1992

Slow Writing

April 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

Lee Rourke, “A Bookshop Going Places,” Guardian Books 13 July 2011

First we had slow food, then slow writing and now, quite naturally it seems, we have slow bookselling.

A Life Spent Within Just One Space

April 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

“The idea of a life spent within just one space is terrifying.”
- Joanna Hogg, “Architecture of Desire: Joanna Hogg’s Exhbition” by Paul Dallas, Cinema Scope 57 (Spring 2014)

The Smoke-Ghosts of Art

April 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

Julian Bell, “When Fire Claims a Lifetime’s Work,” The Guardian (Review, p. 21) 19 April 2014

“Every painter’s nightmare”, other painters have been telling me, and one that comes real for quite a few artists, placing me in too good company, among the smoke-ghosts of art: all the legendary masterpieces of ancient Greece and China; epoch-making works by Mantegna, Titian and Courbet; oeuvres such as those of Carel Fabritius (wiped out in Delft’s gunpowder disaster of 1654) or of Thomas Theodor Heine (in the bombing of Leipzig in 1944), scant traces suggesting the brilliance that was lost. I review my past now and track the fearful possibility seeping, prophetically, into the imagery of my own pictures. A few years ago, travels took me to an ever-burning pit in the Karakum Desert, the abandoned outcome of a 1971 Soviet gas probe. It felt an imaginative homecoming, this endless end of everything, and I stretched my largest canvas to restage it. A canvas now dematerialised, along with some 60 others. Beat that, Gustav Metzger, master of auto-destructive art!

Time’s Up! Silence!

April 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Virginia Woolf, “Craftsmanship,” The Death of the Moth and Other Essays

Perhaps then one reason why we have no great poet, novelist or critic writing to-day is that we refuse words their liberty. We pin them down to one meaning, their useful meaning, the meaning which makes us catch the train, the meaning which makes us pass the examination. And when words are pinned down they fold their wings and die. Finally, and most emphatically, words, like ourselves, in order to live at their ease, need privacy. Undoubtedly they like us to think, and they like us to feel, before we use them; but they also like us to pause; to become unconscious. Our unconsciousness is their privacy; our darkness is their light. . . . That pause was made, that veil of darkness was dropped, to tempt words to come together in one of those swift marriages which are perfect images and create everlasting beauty. But no — nothing of that sort is going to happen to-night. The little wretches are out of temper; disobliging; disobedient; dumb. What is it that they are muttering? “Time’s up! Silence!”

Finding a Language in which Making Art is Possible At All

April 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Donald Barthelme, Not-Knowing: The Essays and Interviews

The problems that seem to me to define the writer’s task at this moment (to the extent that he has chosen them as his problems) are not of a kind that make for ease of communication, for work that rushes toward the reader with outflung arms — rather, they’re the reverse. Let me cite three such difficulties that I take to be important, all having to do with language. First, there is art’s own project … of restoring freshness to a much-handled language, essentially an effort toward finding a language in which making art is possible at all.

Unsaid Words Resonating Around the Edge of the Poem

April 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Gary Snyder, “The Art of Poetry N° 74″ by Eliot Weinberger, The Paris Review 141 (Winter 1996)

So you think people should read the margins of your books?

This is an oral art. They should listen to the unsaid words that resonate around the edge of the poem.


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