• Personal
  • Paradisio

    Diamond light . . “[He] sang beyond the genius of the sea” . . Foam painting waves . . Rough water on Monday/Yom Kippur, following a storm at sea . . There’s no better balm than a long stretch of beach, the angled light of late September, a weekend in a house overlooking the sea, […]

  • Personal
  • Taking a Break

    Fix me, Small Point, fix me Thirty of us are venturing up to our favorite remote corner of Maine for four days to celebrate the landmark birthdays for two of our group. This is a same tribe of friends who spent a wonderful holiday together at this very spot the weekend before 9/11. It became […]

  • Music
  • Lay It Down Like You Know You Know How

    I have recently (re)fallen under the spell of Levon Helm’s music. His latest releases—Dirt Farmer (2007) and Electric Dirt (2009)—have some cuts that will be part of the soundtrack for this phase of my life. “The Mountain,” by Steve Earle, (on Dirt Farmer) is a heartbreak every time I listen. And “When I Go Away” […]

  • Wisdom
  • Letting Go

    The point here is to take life in all its rich variety just as it is, with its ten thousand opposites, and to go along with whatever circumstances require, embracing things after their own inclination or according to chance, letting things be rather than getting in their way, and thus allowing each and every thing, […]

  • Poetry
  • McHughing

    Two poems from newly-anointed MacArthur genius Heather McHugh: Ghazal of the Better-Unbegun A book is a suicide postponed. —Cioran Too volatile, am I? too voluble? too much a word-person? I blame the soup: I’m a primordially stirred person. Two pronouns and a vehicle was Icarus with wings. The apparatus of his selves made an ab- […]

  • Poetry
  • McHugh’s MacArthur

    Heather McHugh How nice when the arbiters of taste and genius align themselves with my way of seeing the world. The MacArthur Genius Grant recipients have just been announced, and a well deserved award goes to poet Heather McHugh. Her fabulous poem, Coming, was posted here on Slow Muse in June of 2008. Here’s what […]

  • Poetry
  • Sleep to Grief as Air is to the Rain

    The Eden of the Author of Sleep And sleep to grief as air is to the rain, upon waking, no explanation, just blue spoons of the eucalyptus measuring and pouring torrents. A kind of winter. As if what is real had been buried and all sure surfaces blurred. Is it me or the world, risen […]

  • Wisdom
  • Directionals

    Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge Massachusetts Yesterday a group of us gathered at the Blue Spruce Knoll at Mt. Auburn cemetery, the burial site of Bonnie Horne. Bonnie died in January, and she carefully chose that spot as the place where she wanted her name engraved in stone. As was her deeply methodical and thorough nature, […]

  • Contemplative
  • Not Giving Over

    Hindu altar, Kanchipuram India, 2008 Blue Arabesque, by Patricia Hampl, is a book-long meditation and memoir that starts with her deep and sudden connection to a painting by Matisse hanging in the Chicago Art Institute. Writing not as an artist but as a thoughtful wisdom seeker, Hampl describes a conversation she has with a 60 […]

  • Art Making
  • There’s No Marseille, and Never Will Be

    Large Reclining Nude, by Henri Matisse. Baltimore Museum of Art, Cone Collection When I first came to the east coast from California all those many years ago, there were two museums outside of New York City I was determined to see right away. The Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pennsylvania was at the top of the […]