Check out, Sarah Manguso. Her website lists her books, and connects to lots of her articles. Is what she does “prose poetry”? Probably. But it doesn’t matter. It’s phenomenal. Tightly written short pieces. Often autobiographical. She has re-awoken my interest in prose poems.
300 Arguments (Graywolf, 2017)
Ongoingness: The End of a Diary (Graywolf, 2015)
The Guardians: An Elegy (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2012)
The Two Kinds of Decay (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008)
Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape (McSweeney’s Books, 2007)
“The Japanese term kaizen translates literally to improvement, but it’s a term that has come to mean gradual, continuous improvement of a piece of collaborative work. It’s most commonly associated with manufacturing operations, but I think it has general application to almost everything, including writing. In companies that implement kaizen, workers look continuously for small improvements that can be implemented immediately. The philosophy was developed to adjust the work process from its traditional practices, back when making a new iteration of something was laborious and had to be done all at once.”Share This:
We are swimming in a world of lies and hype. Politics and the consumer society are mostly based on telling us what we want to hear. And we are happy to hear exactly that. Trump supporters and his haters both. “What do you do,” asked one of Steve Almond’s students, “if, no matter what you write, the reader won’t believe you?” Almond writes, “the nation, as a whole, seems to have no answer for it now.” And boy, we don’t. Even the sober mainstream press is not helping us take our eyes off the car crash that is our national experience at the moment. He goes on to point out that the rhetorical term for all this is “epistemic closure.” “Which is what happens when folks lock themselves inside an ideological echo chamber.”
What we have is “a president for whom lying is not a last resort but a vital political tool. The essential crisis here isn’t that Trump lies. It’s that his lies work because journalists continually debate and debunk them.”
Almond’s conclusion, is that we need to read the stories that are trying to tell us what is really going on. And to read those stories with an eye to where they might be slanted and find others to get as full a story as we can. We will never know all the details, all the facts, but lets live in this world and not some fantasy that feeds our insecurities.
“We need to turn our attention toward those who stand to lose medical insurance or clean drinking water or even the sustenance supplied by a program like Meals on Wheels. All of us must summon the courage to seek out news sources that challenge our beliefs using empiricism, not innuendo.”
It is more than time for all of us to think about the flaws in the worlds we believe in, the worlds we are trying to achieve, and the worlds we inhabit. Our dream worlds admit everyone, nor do they acknowledge the pain we have caused and continue to cause for the lifestyles we live. Mishra’s Age of Anger does some of the work, but he misses in many ways. He focuses on thinkers as representative of times and the actors in those times. The driving force of many of his ideas is Rousseau. He also tends to lump together the angers of Trump voters, Brexiteers and ISIS in a way that is too glib. Many of you have well thought out arguments about these topics, and Mishra will prompt you to resurrect those.
Franklin Foer in the New York Times:
Liberalism has no choice but to sincerely wrestle with its discontents, to become
reacquainted with its moral blind spots and political weaknesses. Technocracy —
which defines so much of the modern liberal spirit — doesn’t have a natural grasp of
psychology and emotion. But if it hopes to stave off the dark forces, it needs to grow
adept at understanding the less tangible roots of anger, the human experience
uncaptured by data, the resentments that understandably fester. A decent liberalism
would read sharp critics like Mishra and learn.
Richard Evans in The Guardian:
Of course it is right to point to the downside of “modernisation”, however the term is conceived: in particular the violent and sometimes genocidal impact of European imperialism on other parts of the world in the 19th century, and the poverty and exploitation engendered by industrialisation. If 19th-century Europe was generally peaceful, its peace was punctuated by episodes of extreme and bloody violence. But history is a many-sided phenomenon. It cannot in the end be made to serve the interests of explaining the present through the vast and questionable arguments Pankaj Mishra puts forward in this thought-provoking book.
In the Book Notes series, authors create and discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.
The poems in Fred Marchant’s autobiographical collection Said Not Said generously observed and filled with wisdom.
Publishers Weekly wrote of the book:
“Poet, editor, and translator Marchant displays an unflinching tenderness in a collection of sonically and architecturally precise poems. Whether describing mental violence or political conflict, he seeks the humanity in despair and the spirit of dreams and memories.”
In his own words, here is Fred Marchant ‘s Book Notes music playlist for his poetry collection Said Not Said:
Your read what Fred has to say about the music here at Largehearted BoyShare This:
ZatAMM meant a whole lot to me. I still haven’t figured out how well the philosophy holds up, but it inspired me when I became a teacher–even though I read it at a time when I would not have become a teacher if you had threatened that Donald Trump was going to be president of the country I lived in, if I didn’t–and the idea of quality is powerful in so many parts of my life. I love it more for the fact that my son read it and lives out many of the principles that Pirsig espouses.
This is the cover that will always live in my memory, even though the book fell apart some time ago.
Something makes me trust GS, and now I want to read: Things I already wanted to read Moonglow, Swing Time,The Attention Merchants, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and things I now want to read: Good Clean Fun (Nick Offerman), Words Without Music (Philip Glass), Resurrection (Tolstoy), and a slew of short stories.
I love that what most moves him are “depictions of good ness that are not fraudulent or sentimental.”
Nat Hentoff, who described himself as a lower case “l” libertarian and “a Jewish, atheist, civil liberatarian, left-wing, prolifer” died on Saturday. A contrarian on a par in many ways with Christopher Hitchens and others–he saw what was the gospel of the day and spoke up against. He has the sentimentality of Jewishness and Boston, despite his radical positions.