April172014
  • Guernica: What keeps drawing you back to the ode?
  • Barbara Hamby: It’s a part of that choosing to be positive and choosing joy. I love Keats’s odes, and I love Neruda’s odes. I always think of my odes as being a combo of the two. Meditations on ordinary objects, but with the music of Keats. Or attempting those things because I could never say that I even come close to those two masters. After I started writing them, I got interested in the form. I tried to find a book about the ode form. I’m trying to write one myself. It’s going slowly, but right now I’m really concentrating on Pindar, the ancient Greek poet and his odes that are dedicated to the Olympic champions. They’re really beautiful and very different. Of course there are Horace’s odes in Rome, then the Romantics and Walt Whitman. “Song of Myself” is an ode.
  • One of my questions really is, why has the form lasted for all of these thousands of years? For 2,500 years, people have been writing odes. Why? I think that there’s something innately human in wanting to praise the world even though it’s disappointing in so many ways. There’s always that tension. We were talking about the role of woman, wanting to be free and wanting to be cherished, and in the world, there’s a tension. It’s so beautiful and it’s so terrible at the same time. It’s like Milan. It was bombed to smithereens and it’s still beautiful. There’s always that tension between the sublime and the terrible. The ode really speaks to that, wanting to praise the world, and yet part of that is the horror and the pain, too.
  • And it’s not really a form, is it? It was in ancient Greece and Rome, but now, people are writing free-verse odes. One of my favorites is Yusef Komunyakaa’s “Ode to the Maggot.” Its gorgeous last line, something like, “No one gets to heaven except through you.” I don’t have it exactly, but every time I read it, I get chills.
April72014

bobbycaputo:

This Teacher Asked Her Students to Write to an Author. Kurt Vonnegut Wrote Back This

In 2006 Ms. Lockwood, an English teacher at Xavier High School, asked her students to write a letter to a famous author. She wanted them discuss the author’s work and ask for advice. Kurt Vonnegut (1922 – 2007) was the only one to write back and his advice is worth reading. 

Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta:

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all!

Kurt Vonnegut

(via negussieful)

April62014
arssociety:

Ten Rules for Writers by Zadie Smith
1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.
2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
3. Don’t romanticise your “vocation”. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no “writer’s lifestyle”. All that matters is what you leave on the page.
4. Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.
5. Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.
6. Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.
7. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the ­internet.
8. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
9. Don’t confuse honours with achievement.
10. Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied.
via The Guardian

arssociety:

Ten Rules for Writers by Zadie Smith

1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.

2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.

3. Don’t romanticise your “vocation”. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no “writer’s lifestyle”. All that matters is what you leave on the page.

4. Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.

5. Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.

6. Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.

7. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the ­internet.

8. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.

9. Don’t confuse honours with achievement.

10. Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied.

via The Guardian

(via audacteramare)

March242014
March202014
ilovecharts:

The Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) was a sort of self-contained literary universe. Besides the production signed with his own name (which he referred to as his “ortonym”), all his life Pessoa wrote poetry and prose under the name of fictitious characters. (Since Pessoa failed to clearly and systematically identify and classify each of those characters, the total number varies according to the expert: from just over 70 to more than 130.)
These characters were not just pseudonyms — not all of them, anyway. Some of them were “full” individuals, with their own personality, writing style, political ideas, social relations, and personal history. Pessoa called them “heteronyms”.
There were only three “full” heteronyms: Alberto Caeiro, Álvaro de Campos and Ricardo Reis. Caeiro had only basic schooling; Campos was a nautical engineer and Reis was a medical doctor. Despite that, in what poetry concerns, Caeiro was the Master, the guru, of the other: in fact, Pessoa declared Caeiro as his own (Pessoa’s) master. Other “disciples” of Caeiro include António Mora, a “semi-heteronym” that only wrote non-fiction prose (essays on politics, aesthetics and religion).
The five “men” (Pessoa, Caeiro, Campos, Reis, Mora) knew each other and were friends of some sort. But especially after the untimely death of Caeiro (in 1915) the men grew increasingly apart in the interpretation of what were the true aesthetic principles of the dead Master: Campos and Reis, in particular, “wrote” (then unpublished) essays attacking each other’s claims of what Caeiro really meant… (The controversy is probably intended to replicate the Apostles’ disagreement on what Jesus/Christ was and meant, a disagreement that shows on the Acts and Epistles.) At least in one occasion, Campos wrote in a literary magazine a letter mocking/contradicting Pessoa’s essay published in the previous issue.
All his life Pessoa was also an adept of horoscopes and other mystical beliefs, like spiritual channelling. (And, keeping coherent with his own multiplicity, he also wrote scornful texts about astronomical charts and the belief in spirits…)
The image shows four astronomical charts, Pessoa’s own manuscripts. Clockwise from top left corner: Pessoa (b. 13 June 1888, 3 p.m.), Caeiro (b. 16 Apr. 1889, 1:45 p.m.), Reis (b. 19 Sept. 1887, 4:05 p.m.), and Campos (b. 13 Oct. 1890, 1:17 p.m.). As expected, Pessoa is not totally coherent in what concerns the birth dates of his heteronyms: in his personal notes and letters we can find slightly or significantly different chronologies…
(via)

ilovecharts:

The Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) was a sort of self-contained literary universe. Besides the production signed with his own name (which he referred to as his “ortonym”), all his life Pessoa wrote poetry and prose under the name of fictitious characters. (Since Pessoa failed to clearly and systematically identify and classify each of those characters, the total number varies according to the expert: from just over 70 to more than 130.)

These characters were not just pseudonyms — not all of them, anyway. Some of them were “full” individuals, with their own personality, writing style, political ideas, social relations, and personal history. Pessoa called them “heteronyms”.

There were only three “full” heteronyms: Alberto Caeiro, Álvaro de Campos and Ricardo Reis. Caeiro had only basic schooling; Campos was a nautical engineer and Reis was a medical doctor. Despite that, in what poetry concerns, Caeiro was the Master, the guru, of the other: in fact, Pessoa declared Caeiro as his own (Pessoa’s) master. Other “disciples” of Caeiro include António Mora, a “semi-heteronym” that only wrote non-fiction prose (essays on politics, aesthetics and religion).

The five “men” (Pessoa, Caeiro, Campos, Reis, Mora) knew each other and were friends of some sort. But especially after the untimely death of Caeiro (in 1915) the men grew increasingly apart in the interpretation of what were the true aesthetic principles of the dead Master: Campos and Reis, in particular, “wrote” (then unpublished) essays attacking each other’s claims of what Caeiro really meant… (The controversy is probably intended to replicate the Apostles’ disagreement on what Jesus/Christ was and meant, a disagreement that shows on the Acts and Epistles.) At least in one occasion, Campos wrote in a literary magazine a letter mocking/contradicting Pessoa’s essay published in the previous issue.

All his life Pessoa was also an adept of horoscopes and other mystical beliefs, like spiritual channelling. (And, keeping coherent with his own multiplicity, he also wrote scornful texts about astronomical charts and the belief in spirits…)

The image shows four astronomical charts, Pessoa’s own manuscripts. Clockwise from top left corner: Pessoa (b. 13 June 1888, 3 p.m.), Caeiro (b. 16 Apr. 1889, 1:45 p.m.), Reis (b. 19 Sept. 1887, 4:05 p.m.), and Campos (b. 13 Oct. 1890, 1:17 p.m.). As expected, Pessoa is not totally coherent in what concerns the birth dates of his heteronyms: in his personal notes and letters we can find slightly or significantly different chronologies…

(via)

March132014
hazelguay:

The most valuable chart…

hazelguay:

The most valuable chart…

(via ilovecharts)

March122014
March32014
February272014
February262014
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