How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?
Literature should not disappear up its own asshole, so to speak.
- Tips from Kurt Vonnegut (swiss-miss.com)
The truth is we don’t know why this shit happens. In an interview with The Guardian, Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of the ‘cancer memoir’ The Emperor of All Maladies, says, “In a spiritual sense, a positive attitude may help you get through chemotherapy and surgery and radiation and what have you. But a positive mental attitude does not cure cancer—any more than a negative mental attitude causes cancer.” We need to stop blaming cancer patients and start supporting their emotional needs. We can’t stop time. We can’t control most of life’s plot twists. We can embrace the unexpected, and give a patient a shoulder to cry on so that she can face her disease with genuine hope and realistic expectations.
- Positivity is Bullshit When You Have Cancer (gawker.com)
And in the activity of poetry too, there is a tendency to place a counter-reality in the scales – a reality which may be only imagined but which nevertheless has weight because it is imagined within the gravitational pull of the actual and can therefore hold its own and balance out against the historical situation. This redressing effect of poetry comes from its being a glimpsed alternative, a revelation of potential that is denied or constantly threatened by circumstances. And sometimes, of course, it happens that such a revelation, once enshrined in the poem, remains as a standard for the poet, so that he or she must then submit to the strain of bearing witness in his or her own life to the plane of consciousness established in the poem.
Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-redress-of-poetry/id446732845?mt=11
- Seamus Heaney’s Last Poem Published (whattoknownow.com)
- Paul Simon reads his favorite Seamus Heaney poem at East Village memorial (irishcentral.com)
If you optimize everything, you will always be unhappy.
If you have a surface, then, by definition, you have something underneath it.
I can remember things only if I have a pencil and can write with it and I can play with it.
”With or without religion,” he said, ”you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
The main thing is to write for the joy of it. Cultivate a work-lust that imagines its haven like your hands at night, dreaming the sun in the sunspot of a breast. You are fasted now, light-headed, dangerous. Take off from here. And don’t be so earnest.
From the simplest lyric to the most complex novel and densest drama, literature is asking us to pay attention. Pay attention to the frog. Pay attention to the west wind. Pay attention to the boy on the raft, the lady in the tower, the old man on the train. In sum, pay attention to the world and all that dwells therein and thereby learn at last to pay attention to yourself and all that dwells therein.