Monday, May 25, 2015

Designing conversation

   an expansive category,
   inventing imagery one
   can move in

School of Turner
Scene on the Loire
ca 1830
Ashmolean Collection

Memorial Day

   But to the extent that I can
   understand my own motives ..
   I want to keep the history of
   our generation fresh in my
   mind so that I don't let my-
   self slip - it is so comfor-
   table sometimes, so enter-
   taining - into easy cynicism.
   I want the anger that comes
   with its harsh ironies and
   absurdities, to keep my own
   sense of location from dying
   while I am still capable of

 The text is a diary entry
 by a character in a novel
 by a classicist and teach-
 er of distinct stature in
 my experience. Out of con-
 text, it is merely a frag-
 ment of characterisation,
 not the summation it can-
 not be, of external or in-
 ternal conditions. It ad-
 dresses remembrance as if
 conservation were still a
 respectable, and not just
 a nostalgic undertaking.

Edmund Keeley
A Wilderness Called Peace
[Tacitus, Agricola, 98 A.D.]
Simon & Schuster, 1985©

Jack Rans

Sunday, May 24, 2015

I think there'll be no last one in

    But fruit still fills our sudden branches,
    The wind still what makes us move.


Nathaniel Perry
Nine Acres
  Grafting Fruit Trees
American Poetry Review
Copper Canyon Press

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Erin go bragh!


  He came back to the sofa. He lifted
  MacMurrough's wine and silently gave
  it into his hand. They listened to
  the night sounds through the window,
  while the mood recouped, repossessed

  "MacEmm, can I ask you? I don't know
  does it mean .. does it mean any-
  thing with marrying, MacEmm? Doyler 
  and me..

  I don't know, you see..

  I never thought of it before and   then I wondered, is it this way     
  you'd be with a wife? You see, I
  don't know."

                "MacEmm, you haven't brought this
                from England with you, you know.
                It was here anyway. I wasn't the
                first in the Crock's Garden and I
                doubt I'll be the last. I'm sorry
                for the soldier for I doubt I was
                much comfort to him and I hope he
                found better joy where he went.
                But you know I wouldn't live that
                way. It will be different, won't

                "I hope it will, my dear."

Jamie O'Neill
op. cit.
Scribner, 2001©

i      Charlotte Hedley©
iii   The New York Times©

Shall we have Gail Collins or lose this day after all

    Like you, I'll do anything
    to avoid one of our Satur-
    day commute postings, but
    I was prepared to go ahead
    with a blithely nautical
    entry, albeit under penal-
    ty of enlistment. We late-
    ly saw a reader encouraging
    the page to continue our
    also to invent a few lines;
    and if one can't say some-
    thing nice about a sailor,
    it would smack of tarring
    him with the brush we re-
    serve for his uses.

    What I think we all like a-
    bout our modern writers is
    that they don't make us re-
    member very far back. This
    defies Fitzgerald's Law of
    Second Chances, but it ex-
    plains our wars to a T, not 
    to mention our zombies of
    Presidential aspirations.

    One could go on in this
    vein, but to deny readers
    Collins' tracking of such
    an aspirant with his may-
    onnaise jar, groveling
    for a flag to wrap him-
    self in in Iowa, would
    contradict the spirit of
    the Saturday commute. 

    Is there still a Scott
    Walker, we must ask; and
    if so, why?

Gail Collins
Rush to Judgment
The New York Times
22 May 2015©