Sunday, July 5, 2020

James Baldwin’s Advice on Writing

James Baldwin’s Advice on Writing

“Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but most of all, endurance.”

" If you are going to be a writer there is nothing I can say to stop you; if you’re not going to be a writer nothing I can say will help you. What you really need at the beginning is somebody to let you know that the effort is real."


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Bill Moyers: A Poet a Day

During these trying days of social distancing, self-isolating and quarantines, days rife with fear and anxiety, my colleagues and I thought you might like some company. So each day we will be introducing you to poets we have met over the years. The only contagion they will expose you to is a measure of joy, reflection and meditation brought on by “the best words in the best order.”
Bill Moyers
In this video, poet and playwright Claudia Rankine reads César Vallejo’s poem, “Untitled.” Although Vallejo published only three books of poetry during his lifetime, he is considered one of the great poetic innovators of the 20th century. Rankine’s new play, “Help,” was in previews at New York City’s The Shed earlier in March when the pandemic forced all theaters to shut down.
By César Vallejo
For several days, I have felt an exuberant, political need
to love, to kiss affection on its two cheeks,
and I have felt from afar a demonstrative
desire, another desire to love, willingly or by force,
whoever hates me, whoever rips up his paper, a little boy,
the woman who cries for the man who was crying,
the king of wine, the slave of water,
whoever hid in his wrath,
whoever sweats, whoever passes, whoever shakes his person in my soul.
And I want, therefore, to adjust
the braid of whoever talks to me; the hair of the soldier;
the light of the great one; the greatness of the little one.
I want to iron directly
a handkerchief for whoever is unable to cry
and, when I am sad or happiness hurts me,
to mend the children and the geniuses.
I want to help the good one become a little bit bad
and I badly need to be seated
on the right hand of the left-handed, and to respond to the mute,
trying to be useful to him
as I can, and also I want very much
to wash the lame man’s foot,
and to help the nearby one-eyed man sleep.
Ah love, this one my own, this one the world’s,
interhuman and parochial, maturely aged!
It comes perfectly timed,
from the foundation, from the public groin,
and, coming from afar, makes me wantto kiss
the singer’s muffler,
and whoever suffers to kiss him on his frying pan,
the deaf man on his cranial murmur;
whoever gives me what I forgot in my breast,
on his Dante, on his Chaplin, on his shoulders.
I want, finally,
when I’m at the celebrated edge of violence
or my heart full of chest, I would like
to help whoever smiles laugh,
to put a little bird right on the evil man’s cape,
to take care of the sick, annoying them,
to buy from the vendor
to help the killer kill, a terrible thing
and I would like to be kind to myself
in everything.
From "The Complete Posthumous Poetry of César Vallejo," Jose Rubia Barcia (Translator), Clayton Eshleman (Translator), 1978, University of California Press.
Learn more about Claudia Rankine at…/a-poet-a-day-claudia-rankine-cesar…
Find more pandemic poetry:

What Really Happens When You Donate Your Clothes and Why It’s Bad

 On consumerism....

“We don’t value our clothing anymore,” Jenkins declares. “Fast fashion has helped us build up a more intense addiction to buying clothing and, at the same time, it’s helped us really elevate the throwaway culture.”