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Arts & Society

Terms, Truth, Sun Sparrows: A Very Important Lesson from My Father

March 21, 2011
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I tell my students that education can do the work of evil: it can make a bunch of aleatory systems with PHDs think they have a right to be superior to the Rocky Weils of this world. They can make a son misunderstand the wisdom of his own father. They stink of torture and snobbery, they are rank with the odor of exclusion and bias, and we call this “truth” or “Dogma” or “terminology.”

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Poem of the Week: Ai

March 17, 2011
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[Salomé]

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The Book Bag

March 15, 2011
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The weirdest things survive. I lost my parents and some of those friends also died: Eric, who introduced me to vampire comics and Henry Miller novels, his brother Greg who netted the biggest trout I ever caught, Huey who threw a good fast ball, and liked jamming with me on the piano.

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Tom Waits’ many, many moons

March 14, 2011
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Waits has a thing for moons, and has been working on lyrical variations of this one metaphor for gong on 40 years.

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Look What God Can Do!

March 9, 2011
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No one wants to appear childlike and vulnerable to others, but everyone (everyone who seeks out new experiences, anyway) wants to feel that way–along with love, awe is the one of the emotions people seek most deeply. And for writers, whose job is to express the inexpressible, the hidden, these two aims can feel at odds.

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Tall Poetry: James Copeland’s To My Plants

March 4, 2011
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James Copeland is a tall man, who rides a tall bike, drinks tall drinks, and writes tall poetry.

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The photographic character of photographs

March 2, 2011
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A question I’ve been toying with: can one photograph in such a way as to make that invisible visible? In such a way as to make the photography part of the photograph? To show the texture of the thing, and not erase it?

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Underground Revisited by Yahia Lababidi: With Introduction by Brian Chappell

March 1, 2011
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Abominable Ladies and Gentleman, thank me for coming!

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Ur Poems: Sarah V. Schweig

February 25, 2011
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The first poem I ever loved was The Raven. Specifically, one line from the poem haunted me when I was young, and still does: “The silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain.”

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In praise of crazy sculptures

February 23, 2011
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If all art does is make us stroke our chins and say in somber tones, “very interesting,” then art isn’t worth it to me.

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Meditation on Milosz

February 22, 2011
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We must always be as careful with nostalgia as we are with most forms of vulgarity: it is too close to the whore’s heart, and can be used by politicians to promote a “purity,” an Edenic return that supports the most vile sense of the volk.

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Anne Carson’s “Just Hearsay” with Illustrations by Bianca Stone

February 16, 2011
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The poem “Just Hearsay” by Anne Carson, illustrated by Bianca Stone.

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Dispatch after emerging from the post-AWP hangover: or My first AWP

February 15, 2011
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At a party last Thursday night after a full day at this year’s AWP conference, I broke one of my own absolute rules – never, under any circumstances resort to quoting The Big Lebowski.

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Ur Poems: Brian Chappell

February 11, 2011
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Ashbery causes me to pause and reflect with awed humility that I could never do what he did in this poem.

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Marriage Counseling for True Minds

February 1, 2011
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To what extent do the classics belong to our actual, lived experience?

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Ur Poems: David Shapiro

January 28, 2011
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My first memory of my father is: “Hurled headlong flaming!”

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