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April 25 2017

I felt a deep affection for
the smallest of my island industries.
No, not exactly, since the smallest was
a miserable philosophy.
— Elizabeth Bishop “Crusoe in England” Geography III. Farrar. (1976) 
And if sun comes
How shall we greet him?
Shall we not dread him, 
Shall we not fear him
After so lengthy a
Session with shade?
— Gwendolyn Brooks “truth” in Annie Allen. Greenwood Press (1949)

April 24 2017

I really love you, 
believe me. It is something I inherited
from my mother.
— From Attila József’s “Attila József” which Edward Hirsch calls his “love poem to himself.”

April 23 2017

Their campaigns have in many respects been complementary. Both candidates embrace the slogan “ni droite, ni gauche,” popularized by the interwar fascist leagues. Macron, bauble of the extreme center, seeks to substitute for the traditional right-left divide a vision that opposes globalizing, educated, cosmopolitan professionals to backwards, bigoted, and unenlightened nationalists: Le Pen’s worldview in camera obscura. For both Macron and Le Pen, openness, free movement, and European integration can be counterposed to patriotism, “national preference,” and the defense of entitlements. The prospects for either option depend on a significant recomposition of the electorate.

Landscape of Treason (n+1)

Grey Anderson on the French elections, the demise of the Socialist party, the rise of a rebranded FN, and the societal shifts of the last 5 years.

April 21 2017

Poetry, she says, is a natural means of translating the murkiness of what happens to the brain under anesthesia.
The Poetic Intimacy Of Administering Anesthesia

April 19 2017

Guess today’s date. #Konstanz #snow #toodamncold

April 17 2017

Play fullscreen

All You Fascists Bound To Lose

Stumbled over this Woody Guthrie cut from a 1940s radio broadcast. The other performers are Sonny Terry, Pete Seefer and Cisco Houston (probably.) 

BRB, need to dust off my guitar.

April 16 2017

Spicer’s apology, as heartfelt as it may be, doesn’t entirely resolve the issue. He is enmeshed in an Administration in which designations of us and them, our people and not our people, the good ones and the bad ones, provide a rubric for almost every policy. For Spicer to revert, as a default, to such terms in explaining why Assad is worse than Hitler suggests that he—and, it is a safe guess, others in the White House—are either not registering the implications of what their boss is saying or are doing so all too well.

Amy Davidson: Sean Spicer Is Very Sorry About His Holocaust Comments



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April 15 2017

We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.

W.B. Yeats Per Amica Silentia Lunae (1917)



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Writing is embodiment. Reading is contact.

Edward Hirsch How to Read A Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999)



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April 14 2017

No, I don’t feel death coming.
I feel death going:
having thrown up his hands,
for the moment.

James Baldwin. “Amen.” Jimmy’s Blues and Other Poems. Beacon Press. (2014)


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I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, 
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. 
I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.
— Elizabeth Bishop “One Art” in Geography III (1977) 

April 13 2017

Rhythm is a form cut into time, as Ezra Pound said […] Rhythm is all about recurrence and change. It is poetry’s way of charging the depths, hitting the fathomless. It is oceanic.
— Edward Hirsch How to Read A Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999)

April 12 2017

The poem is a capsule where we wrap up our punishable secrets.

William Carlos Williams

(Hirsch 1999, p.13)

How Emily Dickinson Recognized True Poetry

Emily Dickinson’s test of poetry:

If I read a book [and] it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know. Is there any other way.

Dickinson gave this definition in 1870 to Thomas Wentworth Higginson. I found it in Edward Hirsch’s How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry, which I am thoroughly enjoying. You can read the first chapter, including more on the quote, online thanks to the Poetry Foundation. 

April 10 2017

Many men are intoxicated by what comes out of their mouths; what is extraordinary about Trump is how little it takes to get him drunk. More worrying is how little it takes to get his followers drunk.
The riddle of Donald Trump: how a man of few words reached the pinnacle of power
In America the question has long since ceased to be whether or not we should go to war. Instead, we argue over how we go about maintaining and expanding an already endless landscape of wars.
What We Do Best

April 09 2017

As many have pointed out, there are many different kinds of fake news. Or, as we put it in a forthcoming paper with colleagues, there are many different “shades of fakeness.” So much is evident in what one might call “controversies of classification” (around a list of false, misleading, clickbaity, and satirical sources by Melissa Zimdars, for instance), as well as in difficulties encountered around early attempts to fully automate the identification of fake news.
What does fake news tell us about life in the digital age? Not what you might expect

April 07 2017

What’s Making Me Happy This Week?

I want to establish a weekly series on this blog called “What’s Making Me Happy This Week,” lifted from everyone’s favorite segment on the best pop culture podcast. But somehow, despite the okay week I’ve had and the sunshine outside, it seems wrong to publish a column called “something something happy” today. You know, with the Tomahawks in the south and the truck in the north.  But then again, when would it be truly appropriate to post a happy post? 

So here are my two favorite morsels of pop culture: 

* Stown, the This American Life/Serial podcast. It’s amazing, TAL storytelling at its best. But be warned, if you’re struggling with depression: Only listen to it on a good day. It’s not an abstract, whodunnit true crime story, but rather the intimate detail of a shit town and a man struggling with the world and his place in it.  

*Good news: There is a new At the Drive-In album on the horizon and the first few singles are actually good. For your sad/angry/happy/content  weekend listening pleasure, here is a Spotify playlist of the entire At the Drive-In discography. (The end of Invalid Litter Dept. always feels cathartic.)

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