Blog in Review: “an extended, elaborate sigh,” 6/30/17

It’s been a busy week, and truth be told, if I were a better thinker and worker, it would have been that much busier.

Ha Jin’s poetry and prose mesmerize me. His style is beautifully understated: simple and direct, he challenges you to reconstruct not just what he’s thinking, but how he’s thinking. It’s masterful work, and I encourage you to read “Because I Will Be Silenced”, a thorough but brief exploration of what it means to stand for freedom of expression.

I love how the commentary on Kay Ryan’s “We’re Building the Ship as We Sail It” came out. I got to talk about what I felt I learned in Aristotle and try to see how it syncs, or didn’t sync, with Ryan’s poem.

Picasso’s “Man with a Violin” and “Man with a Guitar” was an incomprehensible blog entry I had lying around from years past. I knew I had to fix it up, and last week I put in the effort. I hope you have as much fun staring at the paintings as I did. While I’m happy with my prose at the moment, I wonder if I can do justice to Picasso’s playfulness, genius, depth. Picasso was never afraid to speak his mind, I suspect, despite how complicated looking at the world can be.

Emily Dickinson’s “Not so the infinite Relations” is an extended, elaborate sigh. I finished reading the poem with the impression that if I could merely sigh half as well as she does, I would have such a presence of mind I would be Professor X. Her “What I can do — I will” I’ve had memorized for years, and I do recite it to myself when I want to resolve myself.

Eliza Griswold’s “Modern City” is a dark, elegant meditation on how we’ve forgotten the nature of the very world in which we reside.

Finally, I wrote some half-baked thoughts on a book of Bill O’Reilly. First part I wrote, meh, but it’s useful to me. The second and third parts are much better. It needs work, but you might get some use out of it, if you don’t feel it’s too preachy.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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