miscellany

Our business is to see what we can do with the English language as it is. How can we combine the old words in new orders so that they survive, so that they create beauty, so that they tell the truth? That is the question.

And the person who could answer that question would deserve whatever crown of glory the world has to offer. Think what it would mean if you could teach, if you could learn, the art of writing. Why, every book, every newspaper would tell the truth, would create beauty.

Virginia Woolf, who drowned on March 28, 1941, on the art of language and the beauty of words in the only surviving recording of her voice. (via explore-blog)
For language to have meaning there must be intervals of silence somewhere, to divide word from word and utterance from utterance. He who retires into silence does not necessarily hate language. Perhaps it is love and respect for language which imposes silence upon him.
Thomas Merton, “Disputed Questions” (via litverve)

(via an-itinerant-poet)

  • INTERVIEWER:

    Wordsworth spoke of growing up “Fostered alike by beauty and by fear,” and he put fearful experiences first; but he also said that his primary subject was “the mind of Man.” Don’t you write more about the mind than about the external world?

  • BARTHELME:

    In a commonsense way, you write about the impingement of one upon the other—my subjectivity bumping into other subjectivities, or into the Prime Rate. You exist for me in my perception of you (and in some rough, Raggedy Andy way, for yourself, of course). That’s what’s curious when people say, of writers, This one’s a realist, this one’s a surrealist, this one’s a super-realist, and so forth. In fact, everybody’s a realist offering true accounts of the activity of mind. There are only realists.

Without discomfort your comfort becomes your main weakness. Change is uncomfortable and discomfort is necessary for change. Change is possible, but it is never easy and it is never comfortable.
The Virtue of Discomfort - Jacob Lund Fisker

There are two birds in your head, raven and crow, and only one of them is yours. A ghost and a robot doing battle, singing like telephones, the phone is ringing, a headache word. You are dancing with the birdcage girl, banging your head against a cage that isn’t there. You want to say yes: yes to the bathtub, yes to the gumdrops, no to the laughing skullheads.

The holes in this picture are not flowers, they are not wheels, and the phone is ringing ringing, a headache word, it’s ringing for you. This is in the second person. This is happening to you because I don’t want to be here. Is there anything I won’t put words around? Yes, there is.

Richard Siken, opening two paragraphs to “Black Telephone,” from the “Editor’s Page" of Spork (No. 1.3, Winter 2001-2002)
Stands to reason. Beyond itooamoxford.tumblr.com, there’s also itooamsoas.tumblr.com and wetooarecambridge.tumblr.com, capturing the experiences of “students of colour”. Most of the images give pause. Every now and then, one of them hits particularly hard.

Stands to reason. Beyond itooamoxford.tumblr.com, there’s also itooamsoas.tumblr.com and wetooarecambridge.tumblr.com, capturing the experiences of “students of colour”. Most of the images give pause. Every now and then, one of them hits particularly hard.

The point is to get your work done, and your work is to change the world.
James Baldwin

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