19 January 2008
The Library of Congress has a Flickr account. And they've been posting the most kickass photography I've ever seen. Several thousand in each of two sets (what, nobody's bought them a Pro Account?). They're beautiful photos. It seems like they were taken with slide film--I'm not sure how else they'd get focus that sharp with such insanely sharp contrast and beautiful color.
What's more, those titles, they are (ah!) lovely.
Very writerly in their descriptions. Except maybe the girl in the glass bubble. But that's too great a picture to pass up.
Scroll down for more, or check the "LOC Photos" tag.
18 January 2008
14 January 2008
13 January 2008
Mark Halliday on Mary Ruefle's "Perfect Reader," from his essay, "The Arrogance of Poetry," from The Georgia Review (but I don't know which issue):
"The satisfactions of imagining a lover's embrace, imagining 'fucked-up beauty' in a tree, imagining a man who describes a flower in comically abstract language: such satisfactions may put a swing in one's stride but cannot become the same as having a lover. The summer of imagining will subside into the winter of isolation, and the speaker will return to awareness of her own lack of a spiritual home.
[. . .]
"The poem turned out to be good, so I'm not ungrateful; indeed, my life is enriched by the poem--but now where am I? I'm on the first page of Post Meridian, a book containing more than seventy poems; and one of the many other books around my desk is Ruefle's more recent Among the Musk Ox People. How much can I respond to? What will become of me? When can I have lunch?
"Standing at the beginning of a book, "Perfect Reader" seems a warning: It is beautiful to try to be a perfect reader of poems. And you are fated to try. But your imaginative efforts will be tiring and endless, and they could bring you to a condition of overexposed vulnerability, with newspapers as your only blankets."
Every Christmas, I recieve at least five books of poetry. Every semester, I buy at least five books of poetry for class. I fully intend to read all of them. But there's no way I can adequately expose myself to the inherent meaning of all of those poems.
A poem is so short and yet demands so much scrutiny in order to be properly understood and enjoyed, that each good poem--and I stumble into so many worthwhile, if not necessarily good poems--requires at least an hour to itself. I can't do it. There is no human way to be an adequate reader of poetry.
And yet I try. And I live for the trying.