Tag Archives: Modernism

Yahia Lababidi’s Balancing Acts

The poems of Yahia Lababidi recall some great names: Borges, Pessoa, and Baudelaire. The spirit of Baudelaire looms large in the poems of Balancing Acts. But I think of visual artists too. Striking, novel images are conjured, mysterious and dreamlike, … Continue reading

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Out of the Shadows with Maldoror

Parle, et, puisque, d’après tes vœux les plus chers, l’on ne souffrirait pas, dis en quoi consisterait alors la vertu, idéal que chacun s’efforce d’atteindre, si ta langue est faite comme celle des autres hommes. —Lautréamont, Les Chants de Maldoror … Continue reading

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Conversations with a Clown by Michael Welzenbach

Conversations with a Clown, published in 1991, is the only novel by art critic Michael Welzanbach who died far too young in 2001. The novel concerns art critic Corry Peters who lives in Washington D.C., has profoundly ambivalent feelings about … Continue reading

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An Exhortation to Silence: Comparing Mulholland Drive to The Blind Owl

David lynch’s film Mulholland Drive and Sadegh Hedayat’s novel The Blind Owl are essentially the same story.

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Bataille on Baudelaire

I belong to a turbulent generation, born to literary life in the tumult of surrealism. In the years after the Great War there was a feeling which was about to overflow. Literature was stifling within its limitations and seemed pregnant … Continue reading

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Kenneth Goldsmith User’s Manual Part 2

nobility…. is a violence from within that protects us from a violence without. It is the imagination pressing back against the pressure of reality. —Wallace Stevens, from The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words [page 665 The Library of … Continue reading

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Reading Ashbery’s “Three Poems”

Before I comment on this I’d like to emphasize a passage just read: It becomes plain that we cannot interpret everything, we must be selective, and so the tale we are telling begins little by little to leave reality behind. … Continue reading

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