posts

Benjamin on words

‘Through the word man is bound to the language of things. The human word is the name of things.’ (324)

 

text cited: Benjamin, Walter. ‘On Language As Such and on the Language of Man.’ Reflections. translated by Edmund Jephcott. edited by Peter Demetz. Schocken Books. 1978.

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bright: late January

in the midnight dark across the white snow. it moved lightly but hunched, seeming barely to touch the tops of the drifts. a figure indistinct in the branches of the trees. as it passed the cold wind died down and with a slow twist of its shoulders it turned and beneath its hood a blue-white face with two black holes for eyes looked toward me. looked toward me brightly. I made no move. for a brief moment it stopped. then it shuddered and the wind returned and with a sense of ceaseless despair it turned away and floated on through the trees and disappeared into that moondim, cold night.

from James Wright’s ‘Small Frogs Killed on the Highway’

Still,
I would leap too
Into the light,
If I had the chance.
(196)

 

text cited: Wright, James. Above the River. The Complete Poems. Farrar, Straus and Giroux and University Press of New England. 1992.

artist statement

_the thetic understanding of art is a beginning only. in truth, I suppose it could be an end as well. but if each element of a work of art can be explained the work of art should perhaps have existed as an argument or an essay, so that then, at least, we may have recourse to another kind of analysis that would allow us to treat the argument or the essay on new grounds. a painting is not an essay. neither is a play an argument. and even an essay may not be an essay – that is, perhaps there has never been an essay. that is to say, the essay, too, must be judged as a work of art. it cannot be explained away, and if it can, it has failed. thetic understanding of a work of art is thus the most basic (and perhaps the most flawed) understanding of a work. _there are perhaps times when discussing form and content make sense, when assuming form and content to be two different things makes sense. perhaps. _in my microprose work, that is, short prose work, I am striking for a tone of the non-masterful. it is largely episodic work, work that at times feels fragmentary, broken off from some more complete whole, but that in fact is not. I try to punctuate minimally. I shy away from capitalization. run-ons and fragments are welcomed, even sought. but to explain these choices, regardless of whether I link them to content or form, to politics or history (which is not to say that any of these particular influences is responsible for an aesthetic choice in my work), would be a reduction of catastrophic proportions for the works. the works are. as they are.

ornaments to reason: from Thomas Bernhard’s ‘Frost’

‘Not to have any pity, but follow one’s revulsion wherever it led, in many cases that was an ornament to reason.’ (20)

 

text cited: Bernhard, Thomas. Frost. translated by Michael Hofmann. Vintage International. 2006.

perihelion: a new year

_each year begun in darkness. ended there, too. marked at the night’s deepest hour, the point in time most distant from the light. everything turns over then. everything warms to a longer day and to an hour whose sun is nearer. there is music. laughter. drink and food. while out over the freezing landscapes the moon wastes its light and the wind carries nothing and the things moving on the snow remain hidden from the eyes that might see them. they need protection, too. _winter, now. among the cold black branches only the cold slips. what there is of hope is born in that hour and that first hour births it well. a firmament of icy stars overhead. the stillness of frost. things begun and things ended in the same night.

from ‘A Season in Hell’

“I snuffed any hint of human hope from my consciousness. I made the muffled leap of a wild beast onto any hint of joy, to strangle it.’ (195)

 

text cited: Rimbaud, Arthur. A Season in Hell. Rimbaud Complete. translated by Wyatt Mason. The Modern Library. 2002.