Saturday, June 25, 2011

a refugee and an unorthodox writer

Most impressive and winning here is John Lukacs:
In 1974 he was to write of his
gratitude...[and] contentment with the fact that, after all is said, I, a refugee and an unorthodox writer and academic, have been able to secure for myself private conditions of existence in this country that are beyond the dreams of my former countrymen, and without having had to sacrifice my intellectual independence in the bargain.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

all you need for breakfast

Right here.

neil gaiman

You once said that your biggest influence, for your writing, was punk rock—the idea that you could do something just by doing it.
It still is. You have to be willing to make mistakes, and you have to be willing to make mistakes in public. Sometimes the best way to learn something is by doing it wrong and looking at what you did. When I was 15 going on 16, punk rock, the idea of here’s a chord, here’s another, here’s one more chord, now form a band, is one that sort of always stayed with me. I remember recruiting the drummer in my punk band because he used to hit things. And he used to hit me! [Laughs] I thought, If he’s really good at hitting me, he’s obviously got a lot of aggression. I sort of sidled over to this guy, who later became my best friend. Up until this point, he had been somebody who punched me on the way to class. And I said, you want to be a drummer? He said, oh yeah I want to be a drummer. So I said, cool. I’m starting a punk band. He said, great! We’ll start it in my parent’s garage. It still seems to be the smartest, most glorious way to do anything: You do it. People who want to be writers say, what should I do? And you say, write! [Laughs] And they’ll say, then what? And you say, well, finish things! And they say, well, then what? Well, write something else. That’s how you do it. If you do it over and over, sooner or later you’re going to be writing stuff that’s publishable. And if you keep doing it, you’ll probably get fairly good. You have, you know, a million lousy words inside you, and you’ve got to get them out. I think there’s something very real and very true in that. How do you do it? You do it. Look at other people. Learn everything you can from everywhere. The most important thing is to do it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

paul muldoon

It doesn’t come naturally to me to defend these things as poems. As a concept, I see it like this: the word “poetry,” as you know, means “making,” so these are constructs in the world…. One is trying to construct something that will help us to make sense of things, and a construct, or building even, let’s say, a space, a clearing, a momentary stay against confusion (from Robert Frost’s phrase), which, when we enter, we have some clarification, however slight, and when we leave it, something, however slight, has been clarified. We have been helped in some way to make sense of the world.
So that is what poetry means to me. I need to be provoked by it. I can’t quite accept what seems to be a fairly conventional notion of poetry as that which bolsters us up in what we already know. I am less interested in that than in poetry that puts us in a difficult position and makes us think again about how things are, and that is almost an article of faith.
Another article of faith (which I touched on briefly) has to do with unknowing, and that, I think, connects it to many experiences that could be described as “spiritual” experiences, and I know you are all familiar with those, where one has a sense of giving oneself over to something beyond oneself, something one doesn’t quite understand; and only when one does that, and only in a spirit of humility, is there half a chance that one will come out the other side knowing anything at all in some minor way. So I think I am really pleased that you enter these discussions in the spirit of unknowing, because that is the spirit in which we all engage in the business of trying to write poems.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

'the main thing is to document'

Jafar Panahi has been imprisoned for making movies.

This excerpt from 'This is not a Film' gets at the pressures he has been under and movingly shows his determination and ability to make films, to create, under any circumstances.

Saturday, June 4, 2011