‘Untitled (Solar Set)’, Joseph Cornell, 1958.
Kaku tells a good story.
A young Alan Watts.
The temperament to which Art appeals … is the temperament of receptivity. That is all.
If a man approaches a work of art with any desire to exercise authority over it and the artist, he approaches it in such a spirit that he cannot receive any artistic impression from it at all. The work of art is to dominate the spectator: the spectator is not to dominate the work of art. The spectator is to be receptive. He is to be the violin on which the master is to play. And the more completely he can suppress his own silly views, his own foolish prejudices, his own absurd ideas of what Art should be, or should not be, the more likely he is to understand and appreciate the work of art in question.
Oscar Wilde, via BrainPickings.
AIR AND LIGHT AND TIME AND SPACE
”– you know, I’ve either had a family, a job,
something has always been in the
I’ve sold my house, I’ve found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
for the first time in my life I’m going to have
a place and the time to
no baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
you’re going to create with part of your mind and your body blown
you’re going to create blind
you’re going to create with a cat crawling up your
the whole city trembles in earthquake, bombardment,
flood and fire.
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
Charles Bukowski, The Last Night of the Earth Poems
It’s an old tradition in the West among great poets that poetry is rarely thought of as ‘just poetry.’ Real poetry practitioners are practitioners of mind awareness, or practitioners of reality, expressing their fascination with a phenomenal universe and trying to penetrate to the heart of it. Poetics isn’t mere picturesque dilettantism or egotistical expressionism for craven motives grasping for sensation and flattery. Classical poetry is a ‘process,’ or experiment—a probe into the nature of reality and the nature of the mind …
Real poetry isn’t consciously composed as ‘poetry,’ as if one sat down to compose a poem or a novel for publication. Some people do work that way: artists whose motivations are less interesting than those of Shakespeare, Dante, Rimbaud, and Gertrude Stein, or of certain surrealist verbal alchemists—or of the elders Pound and William Carlos Williams, or, specifically in our own time, of William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. For most of ‘The Moderns,’ as with the Imagists of the twenties and thirties in our [last] century, the motive has been purification of mind and speech.
—Allen Ginsberg, from ‘Meditation and Poetics’, in Going on Faith: Writing as a Spiritual Quest, edited by William Zinser (Marlowe & Co., 1999).
A charming guide to cacti and other desert plants… Click the image to see it larger. I’m afraid I couldn’t identify the source of the image.
A cup of wine, under the flowering trees;
I drink alone, for no friend is near.
Raising my cup I beckon the bright moon,
For he, with my shadow, will make three men.
The moon, alas, is no drinker of wine;
Listless, my shadow creeps about at my side.
Yet with the moon as friend and the shadow as slave
I must make merry before the Spring is spent.
To the songs I sing the moon flickers her beams;
In the dance I weave my shadow tangles and breaks.
While we were sober, three shared the fun;
Now we are drunk, each goes his way.
May we long share our odd, inanimate feast,
And meet at last on the Cloudy River of the sky.
— Li Bai, Drinking Alone by Moonlight 月下獨酌. Translated by Arthur Waley, 1919.
Pond by Hide Kawanishi (1894-1965). Woodblock print.
Hide Kawanishi was born in Kobe as the son of an affluent family of merchants and ship-owners with a long tradition in commerce. The artist is considered a self-taught Sosaku Hanga artist. Typical for his print designs is the absence of black outlines. He did not like them and therefore had no admiration for classical Ukiyo-e. Hide Kawanishi took the subjects for his prints mainly from his hometown of Kobe. He preferred strong colors.
Richard Diebenkorn. Black Table, 1960. Collection of the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises …
After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
— Jorge Luis Borges, from ‘You Learn’, translated by Veronica A. Shoffstall.
How many nights must it take
one such as me to learn
that we aren’t, after all, made
from that bird which flies out of its ashes,
that for a man
as he goes up in flames, his one work
to open himself, to be
— Galway Kinnell, section 7 of ‘Another Night in the Ruins’ from Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin 1982).
Beauty is an intangible thing; can not be fixed on the surface, and the wear and tear of old age on the body cannot defeat it. Nor will a ‘pretty’ face make it, for ‘pretty’ faces are often dull and empty, and beauty is never dull and it fills all spaces.
— Robert Henri, from The Art Spirit (J. B. Lippincott Co., 1923)
What the world spoke today
was not the world
but what I thought of it.
Six days of rain.
Through my blurred slice of window
I saw a fragment of what
there is to see.
How small I am.
How large to notice
that space among spaces.
— Chris Kennedy, from ‘Occlusion in Long Rain’ in Ploughshares (Winter 1986)
O swallows, swallows, poems are not
The point. Finding again the world,
That is the point, where loveliness
Adorns intelligible things
Because the mind’s eye lit the sun.
— Howard Nemerov, closing strophe to ‘The Blue Swallows’ from The Blue Swallows (University of Chicago Press, 1967)
A grab of poetry found at the excellent blog apoetreflects.
A fascinating insight into how astronauts would have interacted with the Apollo’s computer. (via kottke)
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you have ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Derek Walcott, Collected Poems 1948-1984, New York, Farrar Straus Giroux, 1986.