1

Arts & Society

Outing and Demonizing

October 12, 2010

I don’t believe in “blessings” in disguise. I don’t believe that all that doesn’t kill me, strengthens me. I believe I was murdered emotionally. I believed that an already severe sadness was aggravated by being taunted relentlessly. This kid who was outed without his permission, who was exposed for the “entertainment” value of the reality TV culture is not merely an instance of gay bashing. He is a test of our failure not to torture. He is a victim of our pro-exposure, lack of empathy, sociopathic contempt for privacy or kindness. I keep his picture on my desk. I look at him every day.

Read the full article →

What’s Your Style Book of Choice?

October 8, 2010
Thumbnail image for What’s Your Style Book of Choice?

I followed Strunk religiously until I read Geoffrey Pullum’s extensive bitchfest in the Chronicle of Higher Education about Strunk & White, and in recent years I have reconsidered my devotion.

Read the full article →

The Inward Soul: Dickinson and St. Theresa of Avila

October 5, 2010
Thumbnail image for The Inward Soul: Dickinson and St. Theresa of Avila

There is an inwardness so vast, so total, that it has a true integrity—not the pretentiousness of artistic temper, not the vanity of professional mysticism, not the neurosis of social anxiety disorder, but a forthrightness, an honorable, hourly withdrawal from the world that seems, for lack of a better word—ecstatic.

Read the full article →

LOLcatspeak, pt. 2? The Internet of Babel

October 1, 2010
Thumbnail image for LOLcatspeak, pt. 2? The Internet of Babel

I tend to believe that we don’t realize that technology is (always already?) an assumption about the world (as one philosopher called it “an account of the good”), not only a tool. Ironically, this writer is lamenting the disappearance of languages via the internet, which has become battering ram of English domination. The more I read and learn, the more I think that questions of technology and how man relates to nature are primary questions (not economics, race, sexuality, etc.—in many ways, the controversies over these can be directly traced to questions of technology).

Read the full article →

The Story of English and LOLcats

October 1, 2010
Thumbnail image for The Story of English and LOLcats

Now for a spin on the story of English from the internet age…LOLcats. In particular, the LOLcat Bible Translation Project. Many linguists depend upon the work of Bible translators deployed around the world in remote (to us, at least) regions of the world. I happen to know a man who worked as a Bible translator and created the only existing dictionary in the world for his regional dialect. Concerns about dictionaries (and their purpose) aside, the LOLcats Translation begs a question: is LOLcats a true pidgin English? It has a history, it has its own grammar and rules, and now it has its own Bible.

Read the full article →

Towards a Different Kind of Workshop

September 30, 2010
Thumbnail image for Towards a Different Kind of Workshop

I am not the expert teacher here, but the experienced learner, the one who has a love for poetry and gets excited by weird things like grammatical ambiguity, or how the poet used the weather to suggest a mood.

Read the full article →

More about McLuhan and the Poetic Line

July 10, 2010
Thumbnail image for More about McLuhan and the Poetic Line

When McLuhan described linearity (I think he actually used the term lineality…not sure if there’s a difference? Spell check doesn’t recognize the latter, if that means anything!), I couldn’t help but think about the poetic line and the way it is changing. As print culture (and hence the divorce made by the phonetic alphabet) ends, we move from the line, back to the field, back to non-linear, acoustic space.

Read the full article →

The Future of Poetry at the Research University

June 27, 2010
Thumbnail image for The Future of Poetry at the Research University

Wendell Berry recently decided to pull his personal papers from the University of Kentucky, and it got me thinking. While I know this news story isn’t directly related to the topic of poetry (and this is–loosely–a poetry blog), I can’t help but feel it connects on some other level as we (poets) think about the […]

Read the full article →

Hamlet and his (Public) Problems

May 28, 2010
Thumbnail image for Hamlet and his (Public) Problems

Hamlet self-consciously reveals his inner thoughts to an audience he does/n’t know is there. Perhaps this soliloquy is a proto-modern lyric?

Read the full article →

Herman Melville Drinks Your Milkshake

May 13, 2010
Thumbnail image for Herman Melville Drinks Your Milkshake

I was fortunate enough to have a American Literature professor who blew off the typical survey class BS and just gave us some of the best literature of the 19th century: Hawthorne, Dickinson, Melville, among others… In that class, I read Moby-Dick for the first time. I believe I read most of it over the course […]

Read the full article →

Imitation/Interaction: the Greek Anthology, Augustine, the Psalms

April 28, 2010
Thumbnail image for Imitation/Interaction: the Greek Anthology, Augustine, the Psalms

It’s immediately clear why Augustine is often seen as the last classical and first medieval man. He marks the ultimate synthesis of classical rhetoric and sensibilities with the concept of self that marked the Judeo-Christian tradition. As Cahill points out, the Psalms stand out among classical literature, as exceptionally personal. Augustine, says Ronald Heine, was “the undisputed master of using the psalms to lay one’s soul bare before God in the praise and confession of prayer….The psalms permeate everything Augustine wrote.” Rowan Williams points out that the very first sentence of Confessions is a quotation from the psalms. Augustine weaves them throughout such that we hardly know when the words are his and when they are not (a modern citation nightmare).

Read the full article →

Poem Thing

April 26, 2010
Thumbnail image for Poem Thing
Read the full article →

Incantations: Michael S. Harper, A Love Supreme

April 13, 2010
Thumbnail image for Incantations: Michael S. Harper, A Love Supreme

NOTE: In lieu of Grossman today, I’m posting a short essay I wrote on Michael S. Harper’s poem “Dear John, Dear Coltrane” for one of my classes back at Hunter’s MFA program. Listen to the following as you read: A Love Supreme It is almost impossible to read Michael S. Harper and not feel as though […]

Read the full article →

Dorothea Lasky’s POETRY IS NOT A PROJECT or Cutting More Lines in the Cosmic Divide

April 13, 2010
Thumbnail image for Dorothea Lasky’s POETRY IS NOT A PROJECT or Cutting More Lines in the Cosmic Divide

Dorothea Lasky’s POETRY IS NOT A PROJECT made huge waves when debuted at this years AWP.

Read the full article →

100 Chimes at Midnight

April 10, 2010
Thumbnail image for 100 Chimes at Midnight

FALSTAFF:
My king! my Jove! I speak to thee, my heart!

Read the full article →