Kay Ryan, “All You Did”

All You Did (from Poetry) Kay Ryan There doesn’t seem to be a crack. A higher pin cannot be set. Nor can you go back. You hadn’t even known the face was vertical. All you did was walk into a room. The tipping up from flat was gradual, you must assume. Comment: Ambition, guilt, and […]

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“Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter’s Eye,” at the Kimbell Museum of Art, Fort Worth TX

Gustave Caillebotte: The Painter’s Eye an exhibition at the Kimbell Museum of Art, Fort Worth, TX. November 8, 2015 – February 14, 2016 Exhibition website I It is somewhat unsettling that a painter as accomplished as Caillebotte critiques two artistic virtues: the desire for order and one’s intensity of focus. Both are considered emblematic of […]

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Seamus Heaney, “Shifting brilliancies”

for Emma Askew “Shifting brilliancies” (from Squarings: Lightenings) Seamus Heaney Shifting brilliancies. Then winter light In a doorway, and on the stone doorstep A beggar shivering in silhouette. So the particular judgement might be set: Bare wallstead and a cold hearth rained into— Bright puddle where the soul-free cloud-life roams. And after the commanded journey, […]

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On Mysticism

Of Visitors – the fairest – For Occupation – This – The spreading wide my narrow Hands To gather Paradise – – from Dickinson’s “I dwell in Possibility” (466) 1. Entertaining Dickinson’s mysticism is dangerous. In several poems, she demonstrates a dark realism at odds with flowery diction and a sometimes singsong tone. On the […]

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Leo Strauss, “Thoughts on Machiavelli”

for Laura Jensen I Daughter’s If You Leave refuses to let go. Over and over it indulges pains the mere thought of loss could provoke. Some might think this overblown, adolescent angst brought to a grander stage. Personally, I’m inclined to the view of Mr. Sam Shepherd of musicOMH: “The emotional honesty that informs every […]

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Kay Ryan, “Tenderness and Rot”

Tenderness and Rot (from Poetry) Kay Ryan Tenderness and rot share a border. And rot is an aggressive neighbor whose iridescence keeps creeping over. No lessons can be drawn from this however. One is not two countries. One is not meat corrupting. It is important to stay sweet and loving. Comment: 1. “One is not […]

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“Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland,” at the Kimbell Museum of Art, Fort Worth TX

Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland an exhibition at the Kimbell Museum of Art, Fort Worth, TX. June 28, 2015 – Sept. 20, 2015 (now finished) Exhibition website Of what is great one must either be silent or speak with greatness. – Nietzsche In the following observations, I have failed to […]

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Caesar III (Impressions Software, 1998)

“Have to make the people go where they must,” I keep telling myself.  Playing Caesar 3, which some call “SimRome.” Efficient city-building means getting everyone access to goods and services. Except, say, when you set a Library down, it doesn’t cover a specific portion of the map unless you know exactly what you’re doing. The […]

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Kay Ryan, “Blandeur”

Blandeur (from Poetry) Kay Ryan If it please God, let less happen. Even out Earth’s rondure, flatten Eiger, blanden the Grand Canyon. Make valleys slightly higher, widen fissures to arable land, remand your terrible glaciers and silence their calving, halving or doubling all geographical features toward the mean. Unlean against our hearts. Withdraw your grandeur […]

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Paul Celan, “Vinegrowers”

Vinegrowers (from Poetry) Paul Celan (tr. Pierre Joris) Vinegrowers dig up dig under the darkhoured watch, depth for depth, you read, the invisible one commands the wind to stay in bounds, you read, the Open Ones carry the stone behind the eye, it recognizes you, on a Sabbath. Comment: Titus Techera and I made a […]

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