Tolstoy

Poetry Essay #2: Careerism Versus the Work at Hand

by Joe Weil The Other
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Other than that, remember you are going to die, no matter how many awards you win, and you will spend large parts of your life forgetting that. Careerism is only evil if it makes you forget first and last things, for art comes from the contemplation of first and last things–lasting art.

Preliminary notes to a course on The Death of Ivan Ilyich

by Joe Weil Arts & Society
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This “functionary class” is co-optive, incapable of originality, grafting onto its evil and mundane tree the native “shrewdness” and greed common to the worst peasants, and the pretentiousness and faux complexity/ haughtiness of the worst nobility.

Obedience Versus Conformity: Teaching and Goals

by Joe Weil Arts & Society
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Conformists are the gate keepers of both the establishment and anti-establishment orders.

What’s Astonishing: Polina Barskova’s The Zoo in Winter and Austin LaGrone’s Oyster Perpetual

by Sarah V. Schweig Reviews & Interviews
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Any review of literature in translation is also a review of the translation. And in this act, the review is also, in part, a comment on the endeavor of translation itself.

Sentimentality vs. Feeling

by Joe Weil Aesthetics
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True feeling has the force of grace; sentimentality has the stench of morals. The word “should” and “must” cling to its fat cherubic legs. Half comprised of self regard, and the other half a mixture of cliche, the sentimental is close to the feigned regard of the funeral director: appropriate, and grave, but with one eye on the itemized bill.

“Minor” Poets and Imagery

by Joe Weil Poetry and Poetics
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Literary theorists use literature as an excuse for ontological truths (or gender, or sexual, or identity issues). This is a legitimate way to ransack texts, but it will not teach you how to write. Ontology begins with detail selection—in terms of word choice, verbal relationships, rhythm. A theorist wouldn’t know what to do with this poem, unless the theorist started to write a book on kinetics in terms of verbal constructs and the cultural bias of admiring athletes as per one’s gender, or class. Minor may only mean a theorist can’t find much to theorize about.