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Below are the 19 most recent journal entries recorded in Other People's Words' LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
2:58 pm
Ah, gossip -- one of Ms. Mentor's favorite subjects, for it is the opiate of the underdog. The mighty needn't gossip -- they conspire, call a press conference, deploy weapons of mass destruction. Their underlings are left to use the more colorful and indirect tools of the powerless: eavesdropping, backbiting, lampooning, whining, rumor mongering -- all the things that graduate students do so well.

Ms Mentor.
Monday, October 6th, 2008
8:37 pm
When a man died, there had to be blame. Jimmy Cross understood this. You could blame the war. You could blame the idiots who made the war. You could blame Kiowa for going to it. You could blame the rain. You could blame the river. You could blame the field, the mud, the climate. You could blame the enemy. You could blame the mortar rounds. You could blame the people too lazy to read a newspaper, who were bored by the daily body counts, who switched channels at the mention of politics. You could blame whole nations. You could blame God. You could blame the munitions makers or Karl Marx or a trick of fate or an old man in Omaha who forgot to vote. In a field, though, the causes were immediate. A moment of carelessness or bad judgment or plain stupidity carried consequences that lasted forever.

--Tim O'Brien, "In the field," from his volume The Things They Carried.
Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008
1:49 am
Criticism is to art what history is to action or philosophy is to wisdom: a verbal imitation of a human productive power which in itself does not speak.
--Northrop Frye, "Polemical Introduction," _Anatomy of Criticism_
Tuesday, September 9th, 2008
2:29 pm
A Shakespearean Toast
I reckon this always-- that a man is never undone till he be hanged; nor never welcomed until the hostess buys him a shot.

-Launce, Two Gentlemen of Verona Act II Scene V. Bill Shakespeare.
Thursday, September 4th, 2008
12:23 am
Selecting a Reader
First, I would have her be beautiful,
and walking carefully upon my poetry
at the loneliest moment of an afternoon,
her hair still damp at the neck
from washing it. She should be wearing
a raincoat, an old one, dirty
from not having money enough for the cleaners.
She will take out her glasses, and there
in the bookstore, she will thumb
over my poems, then put the book back
up on the shelf. She will say to herself
"For that kind of money, I can get
my raincoat cleaned." And she will.

-Ted Kooser
Sunday, August 24th, 2008
10:03 pm
It was like this:
you were happy, then you were sad,
then happy again, then not.

It went on.
You were innocent or you were guilty.
Actions were taken, or not.

At times you spoke, at other times you were silent.
Mostly, it seemed you were silent-- what could you say?

Now it is almost over.

Like a lover, your life bends down and kisses your life.

It doesn this not in forgiveness--
Between you, there is nothing to forgive--
but with the simple nod of the baker at the moment
he sees the bread is finished with transformation.

Eating, too, is a thing now only for others.

It doesn't matter what they will make of you
or your days: they will be wrong,
they will miss the wrong woman, miss the wrong man,
all the stories they tell will be tales of their own invention.

Your story was this: you were happy, then you were sad,
you slept, you awakened.
Sometimes you ate roasted chestnuts, sometimes persimmons.

-Jane Hirshfield, from her volume _After_
Thursday, June 19th, 2008
2:30 pm
The critic lives at second hand. He writes about. The poem, the novel, or the play must be give to him; criticism exists by the grace of other men's genius. (...)
The true critic is servant to the poet; today he is acting as master, or being taken as such. He omits Zarathustra's last, most vital lesson: "now, do without me."

In that great discourse with the living dead which we call reading, our role is not a passive one. Where it is more than reverie or an indifferent appetite sprung of boredom, reading is a mode of action. We engage in the presence, the voice of the book. We allow it entry, though not unguarded, into our inmost. A great poem, a classic novel, press in upon us; they assail and occupy the strong places of our consciousness. The exercise upon our imagination and desires, upon our ambitions and most covert dreams, a strange, bruising mastery. Men who burn books know what they are doing. The artist is the uncontrollable force: no Western eye, since Van Gogh, looks on a cypress without observing in it the start of flame.

George Steiner, "Humane Literacy."
From Language and Silence.
via n3cr0phelia
2:21 pm
Frida Kahlo: In The Saliva

In the saliva
In the paper
in the eclipse
In all the lines
in all the colors
in all the clay jars
in my breast
outside inside--
in the inkwell-- in the difficulties of writing
in the wonder of my eyes-- in the ultimate
limits of the sun (the sun has no limits) in
everything. To speak it all is imbecile, magnificent
DIEGO in my urine-- DIEGO in my mouth-- in my
heart. In my madness. in my dream-- in
the blottter-- in the point of my pen--
in the pencils-- in the landscapes-- in the
food-- in the metal-- in imagination
in the sickness-- in the glass cupboards--
in his lapels-- in his eyes-- DIEGO--
in his mouth-- DIEGO-- in his lies.

translated by Richard Hass, from his volume Sun Under Wood
Tuesday, April 29th, 2008
1:18 am
The fact that revision is possible, that the poet makes changes not because he likes them better but because they are better, means that poems, like poets, are born and not made. The poet's task is to deliver the poem in as uninjured a state as possible, and if the poem is alive, it is equally anxious to be rid of him, and screams to be cut loose from his private memories and associations, his desires for self-expression, and all the other navel-strings and feeding tubes of his ego.

--Northrop Frye, "Archetypical and Genre Criticism"
Monday, December 17th, 2007
10:31 am
Preface to Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman
To carry on the heave of impulse and pierce the intellectual depths and give all subjects their articulations are powers neither common nor very uncommon. But to speak in literature with the perfect rectitude and insouciance of the movement of animals and the unimpeachableness of the sentiment of trees in the woods and grass by the roadside is the flawless triumph of art.

A great poem is no finish to a man or woman, but rather a beginning.

The English language is the medium that shall well nigh express the inexpressable.
Friday, December 8th, 2006
8:09 pm
It's all about aesthetics, and it's fuck-all to do with morality.
-Renton, Trainspotting, Irvine Welsh and John Hodge.
Tuesday, November 28th, 2006
2:06 pm
Dedo had come to Iowa, Bill said, to be in the International Writing Program for twelve weeks. Bill had arranged it and volunteered to put Dedo up in the room above his garage. Dedo had arrived with a small duffel bag, emaciated and exhausted, with the English he'd picked up translating Yeats and a gallon of Johnnie Walker he'd picked up in a duty-free shop. The first week, he locked himself in above the garage and drank without pause. Every day, Bill knocked on the door, imploring him to come out, to meet the dean and faculty, to mingle. Dedo refused to open the door, and eventually stopped responding altogether. Finally, Bill broke down the door, and the room was an unreal mess: the bed was inexplicably wet; there were monstrous, bloody footsteps everywhere, because Dedo had apparently broken the Johnnie Walker bottle and walked all over it. A box of cookies had been torn open and the cookies crushed. In the trash can, there were dozens of Podravka liver-pate cans, cleaned out and then filled up with cigarette butts. Dedo was sleeping on the floor in the corner farthest from the window, facing the wall.

Bill and his wife subjected Dedo to repeated cold showers; they cleaned him up and aired out the room; the practically force-fed him. For another week, he wouldn't stick his nose out of the room. And then, Bill said, he began writing. He did not sleep for a week, delivering poems first thing in the morning, demanding translations by the afternoon. "American poets used to be like that," Bill said wistfully. "Now all they do is teach and complain and fuck their students on the sly."

--Aleksander Hemon, "The Conductor," from The Best American Short Stories 2006.
Tuesday, October 24th, 2006
6:06 am
Look too closely at anything, her grandmother said, letting the dark lid fall over her eye once more and tilting her nose towards the ceiling, and what you'll see is nothing. And then you'll see it everywhere, you won't be able to see anything else. She gaped her jaws and burped grandly. Big mistake, she growled.

--Robert Coover, "Grandmother's Nose." originally printed in Daedalus, found in Best American Short Stories 2006
Tuesday, September 26th, 2006
1:30 pm
oscar wilde
"Life holds the mirror up to Art, and wither produces some strange type imagined by painter or sculptor, or realises in fact what has been dreamed in fiction."

"Nature is no great nither who has borne us. She is our creation. it is in our brain that she quickens to life. This are because we see them, and what we see, and how we see it, depends on how the Arts that have influenced us. To look at a thing is very different from seeing a thing. One does not see anything until one sees its beauty."

"What is interesting about people in good society (...) is the mask that each one of them wears, not the reality that lies behind the mask."

"The more one analyses people, the more all reasons for analysis disappear."

""They are vulgarising mankind. The crude commercialism of America, its materialising spirit, its indifference to the poetical side of things, and its lack of imagination and of high unnatainable ideals, are entirely due to that country having adopted for its hero a a man, who, according to his own confession, and it is not too much to say that the story of George Washington and the cherry-tree has done more harm, and in a shorter space of time, than any other moral tale in the whole of literature."

From The Decay of Lying by Oscar Wilde.

Current Mood: okay
Thursday, September 7th, 2006
2:12 am
Undelivered Mail

Dear Daughter,
Your father and I wish to commend you
on the wisdom of your choices
and the flawless conduct of your life

Dear Poet!
Where is the full-length manuscript
you promised us? Your check is waiting
The presses are ready
and the bookstores are clamoring for delivery

This convention is tedious
beyond belief: the hotel is swarming
with disgustingly overexposed women
far too young to have dignity
or any minds at all

Dear Patient:
The results of your blood tests reveal
that your problem stems from
a diet dangerously low
in pizza and chocolate

Dear Mom,
You were right about everything
and I was an idiot not to listen

--Rhina P. Espaillat from Playing at Stillness.
Wednesday, August 16th, 2006
6:28 am
So why did I do it? I could offer a million answers, all false. The truth is that I am a bad person, but that's going to change. I'm going to change. This is the last of this sort of thing. I'm cleaning up and moving on, going straight and choosing life. I'm looking forward to it already. I'm going to be just like you: the job, the family, the fucking big television, the washing machine, the car, the compact disk and electrical tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisurewear, luggage, three piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, good at golf, nine to five, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing the gutters, getting by, looking ahead, to the day you die.

--Renton, Trainspotting, by John Hodge.
Thursday, August 10th, 2006
5:55 am
Consider, if you will, the morning boner. What a metaphor of hope and renewal! How can anyone give way to despair when one's groin greets each day with such a gala spectacle of physiological optimism?

--Nick Twisp, Youth in Exile, by C.D. Payne.
Thursday, May 25th, 2006
8:36 pm
Our school motto is Faites vos desirs realitie. Make your desires reality. I, myself, prefer the song "Don't Dream It, Be It". [reading from book] In those days, desires weren't allowed to become reality. So fantasy was substituted for them - films, books, pictures. They called it 'art'. But when your desires become reality, you don't need fantasy any longer, or art.

Monday, April 24th, 2006
9:47 pm
There are several ways to burn in your own fire.

-Ben Okri, Stars of the New Curfew
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