• Poetry
  • Music of Hair, Music of Pain

    Wait (to someone contemplating suicide) Wait, for now. Distrust everything, if you have to. But trust the hours. Haven’t they carried you everywhere, up to now? Personal events will become interesting again. Hair will become interesting. Pain will become interesting. Buds that open out of season will become lovely again. Second-hand gloves will become lovely […]

  • Ideas
  • Have it Your Way: Modern vs PoMo

    How heartening it is when you find a passage that captures the essence of some of your internal floaters—those inchoate, imprecise concepts that circumambulate in the mind and never quite land on two feet. I had the settling sensation of an exhale that comes when order has been brought to a previously perceived chaos when […]

  • Art Collecting
  • Art Lovers Of a Different Stripe

    Herb and Dorothy Vogel, art collectors extraordinaire, at home The April 2009 issue of Modern Painters magazine has an interview by Christopher Turner with documentarist Megumi Sasaki about her new film, Herb and Dorothy. The story of Herb and Dorothy Vogel is so outrageous and runs so against the grain of everything I have known […]

  • Poetry
  • The Nature of Happiness

    Morning Poem Every morning the world is created. Under the orange sticks of the sun the heaped ashes of the night turn into leaves again and fasten themselves to the high branches — and the ponds appear like black cloth on which are painted islands of summer lilies. If it is your nature to be […]

  • Politics
  • Obama Arts Update

    I’m still tracking the Obama administration’s pending appointment of an art czar. Robin Pogrebin wrote an excellent overview in the New York Times two days ago that answered many of the questions I have been asking. Here’s the latest on Obama’s old buddy from Chicago who is currently coordinating arts issues for the White House: […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Beauty is the Hero

    Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Kate Moss modelling for Topshop were cited as contrasting ideals of beauty in a debate on whether or Britain has become indifferent to beauty. Photograph: Corbis/AFP Beauty. A topic that never goes away. I’ve written about it many times on this blog, quoting from some of my favorite books in […]

  • Poetry
  • Bones to Emeralds

    The Jewel There is this cave In the air behind my body That nobody is going to touch: A cloister, a silence Closing around a blossom of fire. When I stand upright in the wind, My bones turn to dark emeralds. James Wright Thank you Whiskey River for another diamond hard hit to the deeper […]

  • Poetry
  • Jane Mayhall: The Endlesss Window-Sky

    Jane Mayhall died on March 17 at the age of 90. Her most recent volume of poems, Sleeping Late on Judgment Day, her first full-length collection, was published when she was 85 years old. This poem is one of several she wrote about the inconsolable sorrow of love following the death of her husband died […]

  • Ideas
  • Karassing

    The mystery of connectivity. The human kind, not Ted Stevens’ infamous series of tubes. While I am entertained by way cool tools like Facebook, it is the more esoteric pathways that exist outside the realm of linearity that are most compelling to me. I’m often reminded of the whimsical distinction made by Kurt Vonnegut in […]

  • Poetry
  • Nizar Qabbani

    Friend and fellow artist George Wingate sent me this link to The Writer’s Almanac this morning. I can always count on George to spot the worthwhile and the memorable, with his eye and ear in full immersion with life. Thanks George, especially since Qabbani is one of those non-Western poets whose work lands fresh on […]