I put those things there.—See them burn.
The emerald the azure and the gold
Hiss and crack, the blues & greens of the world
As if I were tired. Someone interferes
Everywhere with me. The clouds, the clouds are torn
In ways I do not understand or love.
Licking my long lips, I looked upon God
And he flamed and he was friendlier
Than you were, and he was small. Showing me
Serpents and thin flowers; these were cold.
Dominion waved & glittered like the flare
From ice under a small sun. I wonder.
Afterward the violent and formal dancers
Came out, shaking their pithless heads.
I would instruct them but I cannot now,—
Because of the elements. They rise and move,
I nod a dance and they dance in the rain
In my red coat. I am the king of the dead.
by John Berryman
He put salt water in. He put the
smallest sound inside my stomach in.
He put the mosquito netting in.
He smeared attar on
my neck. He put dalmatian
chrysanthemums in. He put
conversation with a widow in
the hour without stopping.
He put a hollowed out tree trunk
in the bookshelf in
the middle of the night.
He put the unintelligible drag
in a fistful of grass in
the purple river light in
the expat coffee shop.
The building we broke
into was in. He put the muddy handful
of pearls in the promise
of a house. He put a mulberry
in, a tiny worm. He put
the wall in the rain
walking home. He
did not put bedsheets in. He
never put the bottle in. He
did not, would not come to the house.
He did not mar me with rain.
lee materazzi, Knick Knack Wall, 2014
This weekend is the Popsickle Festival in DUMBO! I’m on at 3pm on Saturday at The Forgotten Works studio on 46 Bridge Street.
Technologies of Heartbreak
This seminar will examine how emotion is attempted and transmitted in fiction, the various ways readers are captured and made to care about a story. Emotional effects—rapture, sympathy, desire, empathy, fascination, grief, repulsion—will be considered as techniques of language, enabled or muted by narrative context, acoustics, phrasing, and our own predispositions. How can a sentence, a phrase, a paragraph cause us to feel things, and is a high degree of feeling akin to “liking” a book? What is it to care about a character or the progress of a story, and how was that care installed in us? What are the various kinds and sequences of sentences that, when placed in a narrative, can produce emotional engagement in a reader, affection or distraction, or is it impossible to isolate our reaction to a book in terms of its language? The focus will be on some rhetorical strategies novelists and story writers have used to impart feeling, among them: concealment, indirection, revelation, confession, flat affect, irony, hyperbole, repetition, sentimentality, elusiveness, and sincerity. A tentative book list follows.
2/4 - Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
2/11 - Mrs. Bridge - Evan S. Connell
4/1 - Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
4/8 - The Fifth Child - Doris Lessing
4/22 - Two Serious Ladies - Jane Bowles
4/29 - The Sheltering Sky - Paul Bowles
5/6 - Correction - Thomas Bernhard
Kinder in einem Feriendorf 1929, Martin Munkacsi