Category Archives: prose

A Note on Herman Melville, Gertrude Stein and John Ashbery

When the substance is gone, men cling to the shadow—Melville, Pierre First all beauty…. is denied and then all beauty…. is accepted—Stein, Composition as Explanation There is nothing to do except observe the horizon,the only one, that seems to want … Continue reading

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Lot 74: Derek Bailey

inner spacea bricoleur’s placeattitude of adjustmentwhere one standshappenstancemeans at handany given timesuspend attentionon a blank sheetbetween cacheand vagary anydiscrete objectin the cosmosterms of contactmomentby momentimprovisejoin my danceDerek archspirit Baileymy first listena school librarya smile a record widemy friend spun the … Continue reading

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Gombrowicz and Melville: Twilight

I’ve written about the twilight world being the liminal space where poetry flourishes in relation to the poetry of John Ashbery and Alfred Corn and to the novels of Michael Brodsky. Today I’d like to give another example, this time … Continue reading

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Reading Clarel During the Pandemic

Reading Herman Melville’s Clarel, the longest poem written by an American, was a beautiful meditation for me, and did not take long. Melville’s prose is better than his poetry, although one could argue his prose is poetry. But the curious … Continue reading

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Is Melville’s Pierre a “Kraken” novel?

I have read for the second time Melville’s novel Pierre or the Ambiguities, this time through the lens of the “Kraken” edition, a creation of the Melville scholar and biographer Hershel Parker with illustrations by Maurice Sendak.* A note of … Continue reading

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A note on Buñuel’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Buñuel is more comfortable with the so-called subconscious (or dreaming mind) than any other artist in any genre that I am aware of. In film only Lynch and Tarkovsky come close. Everyone else is light years away. In flavor however … Continue reading

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Robert Rauschenberg and Working in the Gap

It’s hard to read about Robert Rauschenberg without encountering a Great American Image: a uniquely American hero in modern visual art. It seems to me rather that he was more like the Slavoj Žižek of the art world of his … Continue reading

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Tarkovsky and Buñuel

I’m new to the films of Tarkovsky, and have become obsessed with them. Yet with the peculiar itch typical of my mind my thoughts on his work keep slipping into thoughts on my favorite filmmaker, Luis Buñuel.

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Rimbaud and de Kooning

Arriving from always, you’ll go away everywhere. —Rimbaud We are modern. We are so because Rimbaud commanded us to be. —Ashbery It is one of those curious accidents (but are they really accidents?) that I have resumed my de Kooning … Continue reading

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Song of the Mock Turtles

From September 1st to December 31st of last year I kept a stuck tune diary, a journal of all of the sticky tunes that visited me, particularly tunes that I awoke with already playing in my head. Of the 122 … Continue reading

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