Well, not really. As far as I know, they’re not holding forth about this and that with one another, at least not yet. But I do think Ms. Parks would make a fine addition to the Boy Genius lineup of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Ms. Dacus. The current (sometime) lineup seems incredibly unified, the voices, the vibe, the same potential for volcanic eruptions after thoughtful, nearly shy expressions of angst. And those depths. The oceanic quivers of recognition and response, the crashing, concussive waves, the veering off-kilter just when you thought you knew there would be no more veering.
Arlo Parks would be the transatlantic, London partner to the Virginian Dacus, the Californian Bridgers, and the Tennessean Baker.
The bowl, the shoe, the house, the tree. Nourishment planted, arranged just so to soak up the light. Fitted for us, preferably by us, to serve. This and that, to keep us dry in the rain, warm in the snow, fed when the clock sings in our bellies three times a day.
Non-contrivance can’t be taught, much less manufactured. Zenish contexts can’t be formulated, controlled, or white-papered. The functional can’t be faked. The space within the vase, the beer mug, the bucket, the cool air in the bear’s ancient cave, the negative answer to positive forms and non-forms within the canvas — all of these things must be inevitable, not artificially simulated. Our fields bring us life. We exchange only what’s useful about them for what is also useful in another context, if we want to make ten.… Click to Continue “The Zen of functional and non-functional things”
I have an issue with things. There are far too many of them. We have things everywhere, inside and out, up and down, sometimes upside down and rarely right-side up when we need them to be. Rarely what’s needed, though. Rarely what is most useful. Almost always what’s imminently disposable, replaceable, land-fillable.
Too much, too often, too close, and not far enough away, by any means. Away with things!
So how did this happen, this being overwhelmed by “stuff”? Long, long ago, in a land, far, far away — unless, of course, you actually live there — we started producing stuff for “the markets,” and soon enough those markets dominated us, everything about us; followed us everywhere too, and oh-so impersonally. They decided for us what would be produced and consumed, how, when, why, where, and for how much, and so on.… Click to Continue “New paintings, and further thoughts on “things.””
Michael Gorra’s The Saddest Words (2021) is an intellectual griffin of sorts: a serious literary biography, a thoroughly researched history of an era, and a thought-provoking, fearless, and moral accounting of our past.
Departing from most biographies of Faulkner, Gorra focuses primarily on how the Civil War, slavery, and its aftermath influenced his major novels and best short stories. In close readings of his work and life, he demonstrates how Faulkner was generally more successful in dealing with each issue through his fictional characters than in his own day to day existence. Gorra also adds the necessary foundational material by bringing in dozens of relevant historical voices, from Civil War generals, to poets, novelists, abolitionists, Civil Rights leaders, and Klansmen, and pulls no punches.… Click to Continue “New Poetry and Recent Reads”