Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The World Is Too Much With Us, by William Wordsworth

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God!  I’d rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

Monday, 14 April 2014

The Good-Morrow, by John Donne

I wonder by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not wean'd till then? 
But suck'd on country pleasures, childishly? 
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den?
'Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be;
If ever any beauty I did see, 
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls, 
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone;
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown;
Let us possess one world; each hath one, and is one. 

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears, 
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres 
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies, was not mix'd equally;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I 
Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Author venn diagram

Author venn diagram

This pie chart illustrates what’s in my head in terms of what I think about writing, and who goes where. This of course is just a partial list, and my apologies for the lack of contemporaries, and women. Again, this is a view into my head, and probably subject to some disagreement. I think of all writing being from the head(pros: cerebral, conceptual; cons: didactic, dry), the mouth (pros: language, poetics; cons: empty banter, pure form), and the heart (pros: empathic, intimate; cons: sentimental, emotional) . My favorite writers, those in the white dashed center, are able to write from all three places. Other writers I admire are writing from two places. Others tend to fall into just one category, somewhat consumed by that point of view. Authors near the outer edges of their category may be seen as my critique of them, for the excessiveness of that sensibility. It would be interesting to see where you disagree, and why, and list those who I’ve failed to mention, and place them accordingly.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

“Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink. 

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea. ”

The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis

I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.
The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis

Les Misérables, Victor Hugo

There is a determined though unseen bravery that defends itself foot by foot in the darkness against the fatal invasions of necessity and dishonesty. Noble and mysterious triumphs that no eye sees, and no fame rewards, and no flourish of triumph salutes. Life, misfortunes, isolation, abandonment, poverty, are battlefields that have their heroes; obscure heroes, sometimes greater than the illustrious heroes.
Les Misérables, Victor Hugo

Girl With a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier

He saw things in a way that others did not, so that a city I had lived in all my life seemed a different place, so that a woman became beautiful with the light on her face.
Girl With a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier

The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien

The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.
The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien

Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison

You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.

The Return of the King, J.R.R. Tolkien

And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many.
The Return of the King, J.R.R. Tolkien

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A Noiseless Patient Spider, by Walt Whitman

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to                      connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.