A task: from Milosz to me

This morning I read this poem. "A task" by Czelaw Milosz, chosen randomly from his collected  poems. It reminded me of the post I made on reading this poem initially in 2017.  It resonated again today amidst so much degraded public discourse. I will add to this repost the closing paragraph of the other poem... Continue Reading →

Sponges, metamorphoses and psyche

In April 2017 I wrote the following post in an experiment, a form of improvised association and regathering of the fragments of my mind. I will write some more of these kinds of posts soon. Please enjoy. Sponges, metamorphoses and psyche (originally posted 23 April 2017) After a morning during which I searched my ravaged... Continue Reading →

Sebald’s sentences

"Max" W.G. Sebald wrote some of the most mesmerising sui generis texts of 20th century literature. His Rings of Saturn is a collection of essays on silk, travel, depression, genocide and the prose marvel, Thomas Browne - a Borgesian list sewn together with deep meditation. This great work transformed my sense of possibility with writing,... Continue Reading →

Cantos from a cage

Today I am reposting this reflection on the true heritage of Ezra Pound, Cantos from a cage, which I originally posted in April 2018. I have borrowed from the local library, Daniel Swift The Bughouse: the poetry, politics and madness of Ezra Pound (2017) that tries "to make our peace, as best we can, with... Continue Reading →

An interlude on Solzhenitsyn

Prophets are despised in their own country, and now and then I am tempted deeply by Cassandra's fate. So in appreciation of true prophets and great writers, who formed my understanding of the world as a young man, here are some brief testimonies of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. "If one is forever cautious, can one remain a... Continue Reading →

The floating life within

In the 1980s or 1990s I wrote down on an index card, this observation from Robert Musil An essay is not the provisional  or incidental expression of a conviction that might on a more favorable occasion be elevated to the status of truth or that might just as easily be recognized as error ... an... Continue Reading →

A postscript on Utopia

Coincidentally - a word that tricks chance into being fate - I was reading this week Maria Popova's account of Wisława Szymborska's celebration of not knowing. Szymborska said, in her acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize, that it is from the humility of not knowing that inspiration comes - in any profession, not merely writing: "Inspiration... Continue Reading →

Renovating the Burning Archive

I have spent the morning renovating the Burning Archive. A new theme changes the look and will feature more posts on the landing page so that you can sample more of my writing. I have also added several pages that gather together the main categories of my writing. My poetry collections features links to the... Continue Reading →

Cantos from a cage

What thou lovest well remains,                                                   the rest is dross What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee What thou lov’st well is thy true heritage Whose world, or mine or theirs                                             or is it of none? First came the seen, then thus the palpable... Continue Reading →

A task: from Milosz to me

A short post. The miracle of literature: how words crafted for another voice, at another time, pierce the carapace of habit, strike at deep wounds, and reveal a way of being. From my reading last night: The Task (Czeslaw Milosz) In fear and trembling, I think I would fulfill my life Only if I brought... Continue Reading →

On revenge

"All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event - in the living act, the undoubted deed - there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside... Continue Reading →

Conrad’s darkness

"I have never been able to find in any man’s book or any man’s talk anything … to stand up for a moment against my deep-seated sense of fatality governing this man-inhabited world." Joseph Conrad, 1922, in correspondence with Bertrand Russell. A new biography of Joseph Conrad has come out. The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in... Continue Reading →

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