Esmé Wonders How She’ll Die
– for Lisa
…perspective is a lie. If I know a pond is round then why should I draw it oval? I will draw it round because round is true. Why should my brush lie to you just because my eyes lie to me? – Terry Pratchett
I shot the boy
whose piano chanted
in the monastery of rain. Continue reading Esmé Wonders How She’ll Die
One of the symptoms of depression is an addiction to rumination. The vicious cycle of negative thinking that strips us of energy and desire. It is precisely our obsession with working out what makes us unhappy that makes us unhappy. – Chris Corner
You don’t walk away from something that was central to your very being for 35 years without … thinking about it.
Three or four years ago I wrapped my fourth book of poetry and hung up my quill, as it were. I wrote about it at the time, but no matter how self-aware or introspective or pensive or reflective you are, you simply will not fully understand this kind of momentous decision until you’ve had a chance to get away from it and develop some distance and perspective.
Lately I believe I have come to a deeper realization about my relationship with poetry than I ever had, ever could have had, before. When all is said and done, I believe poetry was killing me. Or rather, poetry was the weapon with which I was killing myself.
Here’s how it goes. Continue reading Photography may have saved my life
My friend Anders Thyr is an extremely talented illustrator and designer, and I’m quite a fan of his work. His ongoing Weltschmerz Bears series, for instance, manages to be both whimsical and deeply thought-provoking, and it has gotten me pondering the ways humor can open a subversive back door into my intellect.
Continue reading From idea to print: the artistic process of Anders Thyr
Every picture tells two or three stories. At least.
If you aren’t a photographer, you may not think about processing. But I have learned, over the past two and a half years, just how important those decisions can be. Everything from the basic choice of how to crop all the way to what kinds of heinous digital fuckery to employ – trust me when I say that it isn’t the picture that tells the story, it’s the decisions that get made once the picture has been taken.
Let me illustrate. I took a pleasant little shot of an orchid not long ago. Here’s the raw photo, edited a tad for balance. It’s underexposed because that’s what I needed in the raw for what I had in mind.
Continue reading Predator: One orchid’s descent into hell
Hey Denver folks – tomorrow is First Friday. Time for some shameless self-promotion (although others are being promoted, too).
Denver FFs are typically about the Santa Fe district, and perhaps the growing RiNo district. Continue reading Attn Denver art and photo lovers: Light Rail Gallery grand opening in Olde Town Arvada tomorrow night
About a year and a half ago the S&R literary journal published a couple of very good poems from Brooklyn-based poet Colin Dodds. Now Colin has published a new book, and we wanted to encourage our readers to give it a look.
It’s called Wisdom’s Real Opposite and it’s available in several formats at Smashwords.
Happy reading, and congrats to Colin.
Former US Poet Laureate Mark Strand is dead at 80.
In a 1998 interview with the Paris Review, poet Strand said something I find fascinating:
Well, I think what happens at certain points in my poems is that language takes over, and I follow it. It just sounds right. And I trust the implication of what I’m saying, even though I’m not absolutely sure what it is that I’m saying. I’m just willing to let it be. Because if I were absolutely sure of whatever it was that I said in my poems, if I were sure, and could verify it and check it out and feel, yes, I’ve said what I intended, I don’t think the poem would be smarter than I am. I think the poem would be, finally, a reducible item. It’s this “beyondness,” that depth that you reach in a poem, that keeps you returning to it. And you wonder, The poem seemed so natural at the beginning, how did you get where you ended up? What happened? I mean, I like that, I like it in other people’s poems when it happens. I like to be mystified. Because it’s really that place which is unreachable, or mysterious, at which the poem becomes ours, finally, becomes the possession of the reader. I mean, in the act of figuring it out, of pursuing meaning, the reader is absorbing the poem, even though there’s an absence in the poem. But he just has to live with that. And eventually, it becomes essential that it exists in the poem, so that something beyond his understanding, or beyond his experience, or something that doesn’t quite match up with his experience, becomes more and more his. He comes into possession of a mystery, you know—which is something that we don’t allow ourselves in our lives.
Continue reading Poet Laureate Mark Strand dead: reflecting on something he said
One of our greatest poets has died at 87.
I had the privilege of seeing Kinnell read while I was at Iowa State in the late ’80s. He did some new things – things he’d been working on during the flight out, in fact – but this was the high point of the evening.
Thank you, Galway. Sleep well.