The Argument of Arms

Here is the opening of an essay by the Australian poet A.D. Hope called “The Argument of Arms.” It is collected in his 1974 book of essays, The Cave and the Spring. I imagine Melville located something of Ahab in Marlowe’s Tamburlaine as well as Shakespeare’s Coriolanus…both “poets” of power. Pay close attention–this “is the […]

Mean Alloy Notes

One needs to make one’s own discoveries, I found Mina Loy by way of William Carlos Williams, who wrote, in the “Prologue” to Kora in Hell (1920), printed first in Margaret Anderson’s “Magazine of the Arts,” The Little Review, in May of 1919. Of all those writing poetry in America at the time she was […]

Reading Oppen’s “Workman”

Preface: The blog is an odd space. The I and the You are confusing here. There is no “discussion” (though one often supposes a “commenter” out there somewhere who might engage rather than “comment”) and the mode of telling seems strained. Before this insertion of a preface I had begun this way: I first came […]

A Muddle in the Middle: Dominion and Rule

Emerson begins his essay “Experience” (1844)–and here it’s good to remind the modern, the “now” of ourselves, that our thoughts have already walked the earth– Where do we find ourselves? In a series of which we do not know the extremes, and believe that it has none. We wake and find ourselves on a stair; […]

Mer-Manumission

Recently we listened to a podcast, Radiolab’s “Home Is Where Your Dolphin Is,” about dolphins and the iterations of scientific investigations about their intelligence based in trying to connect “linguistically.” Pretty interesting (for an infotainment show like this). In the first segment about a woman who lived with a dolphin (called Peter), setting up house […]

Recent News

Living in the Futurist Dream (1913)

How does this sound as a description of our world? Aside from #17 below which makes no sense in this list, I’d say this pretty much describes the present. 1. Acceleration of life to today’s swift pace. Physical, intellectual, and sentimental equilibration on the cord of speed stretched between contrary magnetisms. Multiple and simultaneous awareness […]

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Pouring Out of Various Devices

After reading pages 40, 43 and 44 of the 9/25/14 New York Review of Books. 1. p 40: a review essay by Robin Lane Fox on several gardening books and an exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden called “Groundbreakers: Great American Gardens and the Women Who Designed Them.” Gardening is for the “birds.” It […]

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Clare’s Advice: Sink the Pequod!

Okay, so this might be a tad petty, but well, so what? On August 17th, Clare Spark of the blog YDS: The Clare Spark Blog, posted her incisive thoughts on “race relations” with the Ferguson, Missouri police murder of an unarmed Black man and the ensuing riots and militarized response by a swift and brutal […]

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Swerve Me Ye Cannot!

From Lecture #6 from John Searle’s 1984 Reith Lectures, “Minds, Brains and Science.” If libertarianism, that is the thesis of free will, were true, it appears we would have to make some really radical changes in our beliefs about the world. In order for us to have radical freedom then it looks as if we […]

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Invaluable Understrappers

[UPDATED due to Clare Spark saying more about teachers unions in a post at 4:22 pm today.] One thing is […]

To Fart and Think of Dante

It’s hard not to love this paragraph from an essay on the poet Walter Lowenfels by Jim Burns. Lowenfels was […]

Tied to Your Shared Fate

[In which we conclude that Stubb's version of the monkey-rope is evil.] What is Equality? The state of being equal, […]

How Derogation Works

Which do you think is worse thing to hear come out of your child’s mouth? “Bitch” or “Fuck”? There are […]

The Impossible Principle

Melville wrote books that could be said to be about: Christian hypocrisy in the Marquesas, authoritarian coercion, military rule, torture, […]

The Spirit of America: The 13th Amendment

I must admit to an utter ignorance of the depths of duplicity written into the United States legal codes. I […]