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The ten thousand things and the one true only.

by Kip Manley

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of the sentence.

The axiom is that the mark of poetic intelligence or vocation is passion for language, which is thought to mean delirious response to language’s smallest communicative unit: to the word. The poet is supposed to be the person who can’t get enough of words like “incarnadine.” This was not my experience. From the time, at four or five or six, I first started reading poems, first thought of the poets I read as my companions, my predecessors—from the beginning I preferred the simplest vocabulary. What fascinated me were the possibilities of context. What I responded to, on the page, was the way a poem could liberate, by means of a word’s setting, through subtleties of timing, of pacing, that word’s full and surprising range of meaning. It seemed to me that simple language best suited this enterprise; such language, in being generic, is likely to contain the greatest and most dramatic variety of meaning within individual words. I liked scale, but I liked it invisible. I loved those poems that seemed so small on the page but that swelled in the mind; I didn’t like the windy, dwindling kind. Not surprisingly, the sort of sentence I was drawn to, which reflected these tastes and native habit of mind, was paradox, which has the added advantage of nicely rescuing the dogmatic nature from a too moralizing rhetoric.

Louise Glück

—posted 3 minutes ago


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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of a beautiful house.

The thing about a beautiful house is to make it untidy every day. I wake up in the morning and I see the mess and I love it. That’s the way that I like to live.

Francis Mallmann

—posted 8 days ago


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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of information.

Every morning brings us the news of the globe, and yet we are poor in noteworthy stories. This is because no event any longer comes to us without already being shot through with explanation. In other words, by now almost nothing that happens benefits storytelling; almost everything benefits information. Actually, it is half the art of storytelling to keep a story free from explanation as one reproduces it. The most extraordinary things, marvelous things, are related with the greatest accuracy, but the psychological connection of the events is not forced on the reader. It is left up to him to interpret things the way he understands them, and thus the narrative achieves an amplitude that information lacks.

Walter Benjamin

—posted 25 days ago


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Eleventy.

The first draft of no. 34, “ – up and stand.” is now done! Three cheers and the rest, huzzah. Sixteen thousand, three hundred ten words, and the usual caveats in re: the cutting and the molding to be done.

The last time I finished the first draft of the opening chapter of a new volume, it was no. 23, and it originally came in sixteen thousand and thirty-six, trimmed to a svelte fourteen thousand, seven hundred thirty; but more to the point, the last time I finished the first draft of the opening chapter of a new volume, it was October of 2014. —Before that, it was 2011.

Considering how much further there is to go, I need to pick the pace back up.

At least it can be said that, after a couple of false starts in May and June, this one was written through two and a half months or so, and the majority of it in September, with all of [gestures] this going on, so. There’s that.

—posted 29 days ago


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(Originally posted on the Patreon.)

Things to keep in mind:
The secret of surprise.

That was a big lesson from Peter Shaffer. We went to see a play once about the mad queen of Spain and in the first act there were two rapes, an evisceration, a fire and something horrifying with a child, I don’t remember. And at the end of the first act I said, “This is so much my kind of thing. Why am I bored?” He said, “There’s no surprise.” And I thought, “Put that on your bathroom mirror.” Surprise: if it’s in the lyric, the unexpected word, the unexpected note, the unexpected incident. The unexpected, the unexpected, that’s what theater is about. If you had to patent one thing in the theater, it’s surprise.

Stephen Sondheim

—posted 33 days ago


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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of verisimilitude.

Even such fantasies as The Silver Stallion, and Domnei, and The High Place I put among the realistic books. What gives them their peculiar tartness is the very fidelity of their realism. Their gaudy heroes, in the last analysis, chase dragons precisely as stockbrokers play golf. Is Jurgen, even when before the great God Pan, superbly real? Then it is because he remains a Rotarian in the depths of that terrible grove. Is Manuel? Then it is because what he hopes and suffers and achieves in Poictesme is substantially identical with what Felix Kennaston hopes and suffers and achieves in Lichfield.

H.L. Mencken

—posted 41 days ago


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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of covers.

And one of the things a lot of people miss about Yes, I think, is that it was just a covers band. And we started out just doing covers of lots of songs of the day, big Beatles songs, typically, Crosby and Stills, and I don’t know, Fifth Dimension, and even some West Side Story probably. And we learned to play those; we didn’t have a shared repertoire. A lot of the bands—like, say, Black Sabbath or something like that—came from the same street in Birmingham, or from Detroit, or somewhere. And we weren’t like that at all; we came from all different cultures and parts of the UK, so we didn’t share a common music culture, a kind of rhythm & blues-based thing. We needed to take something and then change it, and it was through changing things that we came to know ourselves.

Bill Bruford

—posted 49 days ago


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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of what we know.

Any of the early steps in its spread could have been either accidental or deliberate, but I just have trouble getting interested in that. I mean, even suppose we were sure of every element of a conspiracy: that the lives of Africans and African Americans are worthless in the eyes of the United States; that gay men and drug users are held cheap where they aren’t actively hated; that the military deliberately researches ways to kill noncombatants whom it sees as enemies; that people in power look calmly on the likelihood of catastrophic environmental and population changes. Supposing we were ever so sure of all those things—what would we know then that we don’t already know?

Cindy Patton

—posted 57 days ago


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Things to keep in mind:
The secret the city will tell us.

The city will tell us
What it is we lack
It knows for a fact
What it is we lack
We’ve chosen to live here
We want things to be clear
The city will tell us
What it is we lack lack lack

Zuzanna Wronska

—posted 67 days ago


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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of the roses.

According to the Oregon Encyclopedia, the first rose bush in the Pacific Northwest was sent to Anna Marie Pittman in 1837 when she married Jason Lee, a missionary near Champoeg. Clippings from that bush were planted in Champoeg Park, Willamette University and the surrounding area when Oregon’s climate proved suitable for growing roses.

Georgina Pittock, wife to longtime publisher of The Oregonian, Henry Pittock, turned her love for roses into a social affair in 1889, and the Portland Rose Society was born.

In 1905, Portland held the Lewis and Clark Exposition, its only world’s fair, to attract people to the city and boost the regional economy. The organizers spent two years landscaping the 400-acre fairgrounds on the shores of Guild Lake, a once gleaming little lake that was turned into an industrial area soon after the fair.

To attract visitors to the exposition, the City of Portland planted around 10,000 bushes of the revered Madame Caroline Testout rose along Portland’s streets. The voluptuous Madame Caroline Testout rose is perhaps the most popular breed of hybrid tea rose, named after a nineteenth century French dressmaker in 1890.

Anna Bird

—posted 75 days ago


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