Poets can be divided into two groups: those who dutifully tortured “When I’m afraid I might stop being” in secondary school (POET = worrying about dying awkwardly scrawled in the margin) without ever thinking of its author and those for whom Keats serves as a spiritual teacher. For his followers, Keats is the poet of a poet the Poet’s poet, a writer whose brief span compressed all the love, pain, and existential uncertainty of a life that animates the best of his fifty-four published poems. He believed pain and anger were their own education, “School[ing] an intelligence to make a soul out of it. “His gift was rare, and yet his best poems were not earned without an effort. early examples are uneven and clumsy, and for this persistence and learning by clever imitation we admire him all the more. His death at the age of twenty-five captured this quiddity in amber.
“When I’m afraid that I might stop being”– –and then he did it; He died young, confirmed that fear, was balanced and brave in his final moments, leaving the rest of us neurotic types (what a sane person) is not Feels like the horror of premature death?) We wrung our hands and stared into the distance. In this way, Keats confirms the greatest concern of every poet – that our fears are sometimes justified, and that our clever poems know more than we do.
These are, of course, my own forays into a character whose life I was only drawn to after outliving him. Every year now paradoxically brings me closer and further from Keats.
Andrew Motion’s biography of the poet is fantastically scientific and accessible, a term that has been overused to mean next to nothing. What I mean by that is this: on a Sunday in the ninety degree heat, you can lift the tape up in your withered state, scroll to a chapter at random, and find Motion that provides you with energy, intelligence, and a real sense of participation on the wonder of Keats With You. The movement is wonderfully clear and direct as it shapes the prose at every turn, as is our understanding of the dimensions and shapes of Keats’ life through his deliberate interest in the poet’s social and political circumstances. His description of Keats’ dying moments is quietly gripping and deserves a season finale for one of the medical dramas that proliferate like invasive species on American television, yet the book spans another twenty pages and makes such breakups bearable. Life goes on even when big stars wipe out. In Keats’ case, this extinction served as a spark, with each successive generation of poets keeping watch. – Maya C. Popa
When I came across theMIND album Don’t let it go into your headI had just met a deadline. I mean, I met the 3am deadline AT THE.but it still counts. Instead of going to sleep, I started listening. When I finished the album for the first time, I sat up in bed, took out my headphones and thought, Damn it – now I have to rewrite everything. There was something about the way he watched doubt – saying anything I wanted to say, but better – that not only reminded me that songs are probably what I’ve ever really loved in my life, but that these songs really allowed me to take note of the advice in the intro:
You think it over.
That’s probably why I stayed up until night came again.
Much of what I heard reflected what I felt when saying words about myself throughout the nit-picking process: “[hoping] That honesty saves us. “You really have to read these texts, man. “Atlas Complex”? Broke me “Sea”? Bless me “Craig”? Just me. Bars on Bars on Bars on Soul on Heart on God. It’s like while the contents are heavy inside, you can still clean your house for it. No jumps. Flawless swing. To say that I am obsessed is an understatement. – Kendra Allen
Maybe I’ve been thinking about mines, mining, and miners lately because lockdown is a bit like being buried alive in your own life. Here are three sources about what it’s like to be a miner, what art and craft and what lethality and language and silence there is and who cares.
Mess away, a film about the problems a marching band faces in closing their pit, directed by Mark Herman, 1996.
Nottingham and the Mining Countryside, an essay by D. H. Lawrence on his father who was a miner and his own childhood in a mining town in Derbyshire, available from Geoff Dyer The Bad Side of Books: Selected Articles by D. H. Lawrence.
Coal Mountain Elementary, book-length poem by Mark Nowak about miners in West Virginia and China and how to teach them about it to children in an elementary school. – Anne Carson
When I feel down, uninspired, and dead-eyed to the sound of the whirring fan on my laptop, I’m looking for a live recording of a band that accompanied me through my youth in the nineties. These videos are usually shows from the band’s early years, before they were famous, or at least super famous, that are streamed on VHS by talent about to break out and available on YouTube. The one I go to the most is Nirvanas Show on November 20, 1989 at the KAPU venue in Linz, Austria.
By then, the band had been around for a few years and toured in support of their newly released album bleaching. In the video, which for some reason is timestamped November 21st, it’s like everyone is huddled in a living room and the band looks like they’re sneaking under the low ceiling of the KAPU. Bassist Krist Novoselic is strangely in sync with our times and wears a handkerchief over his face. Chad Channing, the band’s first drummer, sits sleeveless in his kit. Next to him is the band’s “Fudge Packin” T-shirt without the “Fudge Packin” text (or something like the “Fudge Packin” T-shirt anyway) by a on display LITTLE Shirt. I think Kurt Cobain plays the Hagstrom II F-200, which, if you like, you can see smashed seven days later at the end of a show in Italy.
The sounds of these songs are obviously very different from the album versions or even the live versions played during the post-game shows.In utero. They’re much more intimate and representative of who these musicians were as regular emerging artists, rather than just budding rock stars. Instead of the dramatic, sudden openings of later shows, there is about two minutes of them walking around tuning their instruments, finding their sound, and then with just a few nods to Channing, Cobain begins “School”. During “Scoff” Cobain loses his election and Novoselic just yells into the microphone and screams the next verse. Then even more vibes and Novoselic, his cornball self, says, “It’s great to be here in Australia, but I haven’t seen any kangaroos yet.” Right before the video comes out, Cobain turns off his amplifier and says, “Are you going to buy our t-shirts?”
My chest contracts every time I watch this video. I think it comes from having to pretend to be part of the story while knowing the greatness and sadness that the musicians are facing. They have no idea how amazing things are going to be to them. But it will be short-lived, so I have a kind of inspiration that comes only out of total gratitude. – Peyton Burgess
I read Octavia Butlers Parable of the sower for the first time. Is it strange to say that I recommend it? Unlike many other works by Butler, this book contains few science fiction elements. The book’s action begins in 2025 in an almost lawless UK, where climate change and economic crises have demoted systems of government to pods. Lauren, our protagonist, lives in a residential complex in California, on the thin line between relative security and the poverty, crime and chaos of the surrounding city. Butler envisions a bleak future entirely shaped by America’s own past.
However, Lauren is calm as she makes her way through the destruction of everything she loves. Not only is she deeply empathetic, but she is also intelligent, focused, and thoughtful. In this silence I see Butler’s clarity as a writer, her ability to keep disastrous realities about America at a distance and to unshakably describe her contours on the page.
At the beginning of the book Lauren writes, “I try to speak the truth – to write -. I try to be clear. I’m not interested in being fancy or even original. Clarity and truth will be plentiful if only I can can reach. “
The norm is to only recommend books after you’ve finished them. But lately I’ve been thinking less about the satisfaction of checking off a book as “done”. There is always the pressure to load further forward and move on to the next step. I think much more about the haunting experience of reading slowly and being present in the narrative moment.
Under the pressure ofCOVID Living without looking back, I find solace in this slowness of getting lost in Butler’s study of America, which is both about our past and a warning about our future. – Yohanca Delgado
The limits of horror have been put to the test lately. I watched the Swedish film there edgeDirected by Ali Abbasi, I was reminded of the fundamental philosophical question of horror: What is human? This question comes alive as soon as something inhuman or monstrous invades normality. in the edgeThe monster has already entered in the form of Tina, an agent whose job it is to track down smugglers for the Swedish customs service.
Sweden’s territorial borders aren’t the only border Tina is supposed to protect in this old-growth horror film. Tina, whose every facial feature is subordinate to the operations on her nose, does not present herself completely as a human. Their ability to detect contraband by smelling guilt on the human carrier makes them invaluable to the customs service. Tina is without a doubt on the border between animals and humans. She is visited every evening by the forest dwellers around her house, and an elk seems to find her company of endless use.
Abbasi plays his story in the realm of fairy tales, where trolls and changelings nibble on maggots on the edges of forests and bassinets. When a man named Vore goes through customs, Tina’s affinity with him takes precedence over her duty as a border guard. She will learn from Vore that she is not human. Abbasi uses allegory to test the boundaries of sex by reversing the secondary sex characteristics of the main characters. edge also examines the frail status of the foreigner in Sweden. This seems like a fair game in a country where children from refugee families in need of deportation have been falling asleep for years.
Tina also learns from Vore of the crimes that have been committed against her kind. Vore is beset by his untied revenge on humans, and Tina will have to choose between the ruthless morals of her own kind and that of her kidnappers, the humans.
edge reminds us that we humans have an innate moral sense that leads us to behave ethically. But right now edge delivers an affirmative yes through the ethical actions of its protagonist, I was impressed how outdated this question – what is human? – has become. While we humans know the difference between right and wrong, it does little to dismantle the model of planetary exhaustion and extraction from which we benefit. We are stewards of our destruction.
Tina’s affinity for wildlife appears to be the most developed attitude in Abbasis edge. Perhaps the horror film question is no longer what is human and what is inhuman, but whether there is enough animal left in humans to save us. – Mary Kuryla
In “Sventa”, the essay that I translated for the current issue, Maxim Osipov returns to Lithuania after a long absence and finds the landscape he knew in his youth irrevocably changed. To try to understand the changes and absorb their effects, he relies, as Russian often does, on poetry. These are the lines that come to his aid: “Here was a house. […] / And now a bird is flying through / the empty space that was a window. “They belong to Ivan Elagin (1918–1987), one of many Russian authors whose lives were changed by World War II. Together with his wife and fellow poet Olga Anstei, he stayed in Kiev under National Socialist occupation. The couple, who left with the retreating Germans in 1943, were taken to a DP camp, lost a child to pneumonia, and emigrated to the United States in 1950, where they soon divorced. Elagin became a great poet whose poignant, self-questioning verse echoes what Edward Said called the “double perspective” of exile, “seeing things in terms of both what has been left behind and what is here.” and now is up to date “. I have translated a number of Elagin’s texts (here, here and here), but his steadfast “double perspective” is most vividly captured in the long poem “Fadeout”, which Maria Bloshteyn translated and included in her extraordinary anthology Russia Burns: Poems of the Great Patriotic War. In the poem, Elagin, who served as an ambulance driver under the crew, suffers the new trauma of a car wreck outside of Chicago that unearths the old trauma of bringing a dying soldier to hospital under heavy fire: “We drove out of Chicago. / The skyscrapers behind us / were covered in smoke. / A moment is like gravity, / its pull is indestructible, / it remains locked in us. ” Russia is on fire collects the works of almost a hundred poets and offers a courageous, unprecedentedly nuanced portrait of the Russian war experience and its consequences. I’ve read it for the last year and every page reminds me that no tragedy leaves survivors untouched. – Boris Dralyuk