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Language

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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The other thing grammar is good for

January 24, 2011
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Grammar can be a brutal, brutal thing.

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A Language Poet You’ll Enjoy Reading

January 7, 2011
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Add Clark Coolidge to the list of great American poets that nobody is talking about.

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Aesthete and Propagandist: An Interview with Gene Tanta

December 10, 2010
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It’s getting later than it’s ever been and the sonnet is nearly over: do you know where your closure is?

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Gatekeepers of Literary Greatness

December 8, 2010
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The more things same, the more they same the change.
Things change by staying the same.
Things stay the same by changing.

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‘Those are not the words’: Walt Whitman’s collapsing taxonomy of poetry

December 7, 2010
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Whitman seeks to establish a taxonomy of poetry, a system classifying what is good poetry, what bad, but the structure he establishes keeps collapsing.

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“Fractured at a Touch:” More on Abstract and Concrete

November 29, 2010
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We are always towards an abstraction, one way or the other, but the use of detail, how we emphasize or mute, or play with an image is at the heart of contemporary poetics.

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Translation is Treason

November 17, 2010
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Forgiveness is therefore the very life of conversation and the heart of discourse. Without a constant flow of forgiveness even disagreement is impossible.

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Derangement: Breton and Metaphor

November 16, 2010
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All metaphors are, eventually, false, inaccurate, distortians of reality. Reality itself is a distortion. Frost–the conservative–said as much.

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Translation, Film, and the ESL Student

November 11, 2010
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A new language is a bully. Learning a new language is not really learning a new way to communicate, but a new way to think.

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Metaphor as Foundation of Consciousness

November 9, 2010
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Metaphors are committed to falsehood and inexactness for the sake of a possibility more vital than precision.

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A Ghost (Sonnet) in Gene Tanta’s “Unusual Woods”

November 8, 2010
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Seemingly disconnected things envisioned as unified: this is the surreal experience of the “marvelous” or the Deep Image experience of the deep image.

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A Beautifully Scrambled Egg

October 19, 2010
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Mathews is just talking about how to cook eggs. He’s paying really close attention to both the delicate things eggs are the delicate process of cooking them. What for? Because it’s frickin’ awesome. Shut up and enjoy the eggs.

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Surrealism Re-Imagined

October 11, 2010

At its heart, surrealism wages a political and ideological battle through language. By creating impossible images through placing disparate objects side-by-side, poetry dismantles and re-formulates our perceptions and conceptions of reality.

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Anxious yawp

October 11, 2010
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Whitman wanted the sign and the signified to be the same thing, to come together and, at the moment of poet’s invocation, be one. He wanted to cross the gap between sign and signified by poetic force …. He wanted the sign to be more than a sign, more than arbitrary, to really be alive, to be the thing, be filled with the spirit of the thing signified and the spirit of the people using the sign, but he consistently found that he was trapped in the realm of the sign, unable to bridge over to the reality of things, and that poems are made out of words – the vibrant life he wants to yawp is, on the page, only arbitrary symbols.

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What’s Your Style Book of Choice?

October 8, 2010
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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.

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