Monthly Archives: March 2014

Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath in 1957

Sylvia Plath in 1957

Sylvia Plath (17 October 1932 – 11 February 1963) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She married fellow poet Ted Hughes in 1956; they lived together in the United States and then England, and had two children, Frieda and Nicholas. Plath is best known as a poet for her two published collections, The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel. She also wrote The Bell Jar, a semi-autobiographical novel published shortly before her suicide in 1963. She had suffered from depression for most of her adult life.

“How we need another soul to cling to, another body to keep us warm. To rest and trust; to give your soul in confidence: I need this, I need someone to pour myself into.”

“Can you understand? Someone, somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my despair, for all my ideals, for all that ― I love life. But it is hard, and I have so much ― so very much to learn.” The Journals of Sylvia Plath

“I am learning how to compromise the wild dream ideals and the necessary realities without such screaming pain.” Journals 1953

“And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter — they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long.” ― The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

“I wish to cry. Yet, I laugh, and my lipstick leaves a red stain like a bloody crescent moon on top of the beer can.” ― The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

“Is it impossible for you to let something go and have it go whole?” – from ‘A Birthday Present’

“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow.” ― The Bell Jar

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Pause

Pause_PICT0028_rt csm

Silence swells
until they are
free to be meaningless

These moments recalled
as the ache
begins in the flesh

Last year
eyes caught
in the small light
seem to move

Ways of belonging
invade his dreams
for he didn’t understand
their loneliness
just then

Then
her hands closed
his eyes seeing that
part of them which
feels and screams
their need to touch

The room falls silent
a casualty of your presence

rjh — from a sequence African Dreams, 1991 revised 2014.

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March 29, 2014 · 1:51 am

Enra: Pleiades

Pleiades combines elements of dance, performance art, music, technology, light, music and more. In this video, the dancers Saya Watatani and Maki Yokoyama of the Japanese multimedia dance and martial arts troupe, Enra, perform with light animations produced by Nobuyuki Hanabusa and Seiya Ishii, to music by Nobuyuki Hanabusa.

The performance is a representation of the Pleiades constellation, commonly called Subaru in Japan. Apparently the word has Buddhist connections, meaning ‘united’ or ‘getting together’. The car company Subaru has stars in its logo, and Subaru is the name of Japan’s new optical-infrared telescope in Hawaii.

A few months before Pleiades, Enra and director Nobuyuki Hanabusa wowed the Olympics Committee with ‘Fuma-Kai’. Another incredible multimedia performance piece you can see here.

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March 26, 2014 · 2:07 pm

View from a small room

View from a small room_s

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March 26, 2014 · 2:19 am

bpNichol: The Complete Works

bpNichol_Complete Works

“We live in the midst of language, surrounded by books, and, as a result, the nature of both has become transparent to us. We look thru the books to the content inside them. We learn to speed read so that the words too can be strip-mined for their information. Thus are we made more ignorant. And painting, sculpture, dance, photography, etc., all the so-called Fine Arts, suffer, because we look but we don’t see. Once the surface of the world, of its objects, inhabitants, etc., becomes transparent to us, it quickly becomes unimportant to us as well, and things that should register — political, social, ecological — don’t.”

From bpNichol ‘Primary Days: Housed with the Coach at the Press, 1965 to 1987’ in Provincial Essays, vol. 4, 19 – 25, 1987.

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Shine

Shine

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March 24, 2014 · 4:18 pm

An Invitation

I confess that there’s a part of me that reads this sort of thing and wants to question what lies behind it. And maybe feels it’s a little flaky, like those tedious memes which litter Facebook. But much of it does resonate, and touch something vital and receptive. And after all, no invitation should ever be rejected without consideration!

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

The Invitation by Oriah © Mountain Dreaming, from the book The Invitation published by HarperONE, San Francisco, 1999. All rights reserved.

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March 22, 2014 · 7:01 pm

When Words Become Unclear

“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.” — Susan Sontag

“The similarity between Van Gogh, Haiku poetry, and good photography is the concern for mortality. That things are very fleeting, that there are people who are more sensitive to death than others. The threat of time is of great concern to them. And the camera is a very appropriate instrument for many.” — Dennis Stock

“Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.” — Walker Evans

“The pictures are there, and you just take them.” — Robert Capa

“It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head.” — Henri Cartier-Bresson

“A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.” — Diane Arbus

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March 21, 2014 · 4:26 pm

Man Ray Selfie

Man Ray - Autoportrait dans un miroir avec Lee Miller, Cannes, 1929Man Ray, ‘selfie’ with Lee Miller, Cannes, 1929. (Autoportrait dans un miroir avec Lee Miller.)

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Black Riders

Crane_Black RidersIII
In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
Who squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it. I said,
“Is it good, friend?”
“It is bitter – bitter,” he answered,
“But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart.”

IV
Yes, I have a thousand tongues,
And nine and ninety-nine lie.
Though I strive to use the one,
It will make no melody at my will,
But is dead in my mouth.

Stephen Crane, from The Black Riders and other Lines, published May 1895. More here.

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