Some Thoughts
“One writes out of one thing only — one’s own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give. This is the only real concern of the artist, to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art.”

- James Baldwin (via observando)

(via poetsandwriters)

23 Aug 2014    502 notes
“To write what is worth publishing, to find honest people to publish it, and get sensible people to read it, are the three great difficulties in being an author.”

- Charles Caleb Colton (via writetothestars)
21 Aug 2014    24 notes
“It’s very important to me to emphasize this, that the shapeliness of fiction almost always depends on the presence of an arc, and it’s not simply a plot-driven device; it’s the ways in which the story creates meaning and emphasizes and amplifies. And it has to work on the reader sneakily or he or she won’t be persuaded.”

- : “Short Story: A Process of Revision” by Antonya Nelson 
6 Aug 2014    46 notes
Haruki Murakami on how your jazz collection can help you become a Nobel Prize contender.



From a 2007 essay published in The New York Times, tracked down by our resident jazz aficionado and ascendant rock star, Shuja: 

"Whether in music or in fiction, the most basic thing is rhythm. Your style needs to have good, natural, steady rhythm, or people won’t keep reading your work. I learned the importance of rhythm from music — and mainly from jazz. Next comes melody — which, in literature, means the appropriate arrangement of the words to match the rhythm. If the way the words fit the rhythm is smooth and beautiful, you can’t ask for anything more. Next is harmony — the internal mental sounds that support the words. Then comes the part I like best: free improvisation. Through some special channel, the story comes welling out freely from inside. All I have to do is get into the flow. Finally comes what may be the most important thing: that high you experience upon completing a work — upon ending your ‘performance’ and feeling you have succeeded in reaching a place that is new and meaningful. And if all goes well, you get to share that sense of elevation with your readers (your audience). That is a marvelous culmination that can be achieved in no other way."

Also: check out this excerpt from Murakami’s new novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, coming out—barring any storms of fish, worm-triggered earthquakes, or our collective tumble into an alternate world almost-but-not-quite-like our ownany minute now (August 12, to be exact). 

31 Jul 2014    76 notes
“I was a new writer and I was supposed to write all the time, wasn’t I? I had not yet discovered that there are times when one can’t write, one shouldn’t write, times for thought, for deepening, or just reading, or simply living.”

- Stanley Crawford in a letter to Noy Holland (The Believer, Feburary 2010)

(Source: leopoldgursky, via poetsandwriters)

26 Jul 2014    1,489 notes


Life goes on, but individual poems
stop. The most you can hope for is the line
that doesn’t end with a period. You
are suspended in the middle of a
sentence, possibly look up, then resume
reading as if the music never stopped,
as if everyone didn’t have to dive
for the chairs, of which there were always one
too few. This was before birthdays returned
with such increasing rapidity that
you lost count, the world hurtling around the
small yellow star, the entire universe
flashing past your bewildered eyes until,
like a premeditated sonnet, all is still.

A poem from Bilateral Asymmetry by Don Riggs, which L.S. Bassen reviews over at The Rumpus.

17 Jul 2014    72 notes

Some of the books that I consider my favorite are ones that rock me to my core, that leave me feeling like someone squeezed my heart really tightly for those 300 to 400 pages. But the idea of going through that experience for a second time? No, thank you.

Not only do I not want to experience that kind of emotional roller coaster for a second time (let’s ignore the fact that I continue to go through it, just with different books), but what if it is worse a second time around? Now that I know what is coming, will the ride only be worse because I am just waiting for events to occur? Will I even have the strength to continue through the book a second time around? Part of me thinks it is like knowing that an oven is hot and choosing to touch it anyway.

- from On Books I Love That I’ll Never Reread by Rincey Abraham (via bookriot)
16 Jul 2014    763 notes

Praise for a Color
Yellow infers from itself papayas and their pulp,penetrable yellow.At noon: bees, sweet stinger and honey.Whole eggs and their nucleus, the ovum.This interior thing, miniscule.From the blackness of the blind viscera,hot and yellow, the miniscule speck,the luminous grain.Yellow spreads and smooths, a downpourof the pure light of its name,tropicordial.Yellow turns on, turns up the heat,a charmed flute,an oboe in Bach.Yellow engenders.
—Adélia Prado. Art: Helen Frankenthaler.


Praise for a Color

Yellow infers from itself papayas and their pulp,
penetrable yellow.
At noon: bees, sweet stinger and honey.
Whole eggs and their nucleus, the ovum.
This interior thing, miniscule.
From the blackness of the blind viscera,
hot and yellow, the miniscule speck,
the luminous grain.
Yellow spreads and smooths, a downpour
of the pure light of its name,
Yellow turns on, turns up the heat,
a charmed flute,
an oboe in Bach.
Yellow engenders.

Adélia Prado. Art: Helen Frankenthaler.

15 Jul 2014    285 notes
“When I was young, I expected people to give me more than they could—continuous friendship, permanent emotion.
Now I have learned to expect less of them than they can give—a silent companionship. And their emotions, their friendship, and noble gestures keep their full miraculous value in my eyes; wholly the fruit of grace.”

- Albert Camus, Notebooks 1935-1942  (via fleurstains)

(Source: kolir, via fleurstains)

10 May 2014    6,514 notes
"The Descent of Man" by Vijay Seshadri

My failure to evolve has been causing me a lot of grief lately.
I can’t walk on my knuckles through the acres of shattered glass
     in the streets.
I get lost in the arcades. My feet stink at the soirees.
The hills have been bulldozed from whence cameth my help.
The halfway houses where I met my kind dreaming of flickering lights
     in the woods
are shuttered I don’t know why.
"Try," say the good people who bring me my food,
"to make your secret anguish your secret weapon.
Otherwise, your immortality will be
an exhibit in a vitrine at the local museum, a picture in a book.”
But I can’t get the hang of it. The heavy instructions fall from my hands.
It takes so long for the human to become a human!
He affrights civilizations with his cry. At his approach,
the mountains retreat. A great wind crashes the garden party.
Manipulate singly neither his consummation nor his despair
but the two together like curettes
and peel back the pitch-black integuments
to discover the penciled-in figure on the painted-over mural of time,
sitting on the sketch of a boulder below
his aching sunrise, his moody, disappointed sunset.

via poetrysociety - Read More.
15 Apr 2014    75 notes