The American writer has his hands full, trying to understand and then describe and then make credible much of the American reality. It stupefies, it sickens, it infuriates, and finally it is even a kind of embarrassment to one’s own meager imagination. The actuality is continually outdoing our talents, and the culture tosses up figures almost daily that are the envy of any novelist.
which you say
that rug out
Paul Valéry said: the opening line of a poem is like finding a fruit in the ground, a piece of fallen fruit you have never seen before, and the poet’s task is to create the tree from which such a fruit would fall.
from Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack, and Honey
There’s not much to be said about the period except that most writers don’t reach it soon enough.
William Zinsser, Author of On Writing Well
Suffice to say, this is a piece of writing that means a lot to me. We did a play called “[How to] Stay Human that was in large part, about this… and the environment. There’s a connection there, and we tried to draw it.
It’s amazing that anyone was able to get these thoughts down on paper so clearly, and forcefully, and deliver something with such enduring meaning. And you really don’t know the piece until you’ve heard Dave deliver it himself (as you do in the video.) To get anywhere near this level of positive impact is something worth striving for everyday.
Anyway, enjoy this video.
The new volume from University of Mississippi press arrived today, “Conversations with David Foster Wallace.” You can expect a slew of quotations in the next few days.
Here’s one from 1993:
… managing to be a really alive human being, and also do good work and be as obsessed as you have to be, is really tricky.
Simply said and heart-breakingly true.
[box_red]”They want me to give up this poetry life, but I don’t know another way to pray.”[/box_red]
I saw Barb’s performance at TEDxColumbus this year. There are two pieces and the second, starting at 2:30, shook me to my soul. I remember throwing my hat on the ground and shouting “DAMN” when she was done. People around me must have thought I was crazy.”
One of the better things I’ve ever written is this review of Van Halen’s new album for The Agit Reader.
Kevin Huizenga is one of my 3 favorite makers of comics these days. His methods mix accessible pictures, science, philosophy, history, and autobiography all together in a form much like David (Reality Hunger) Shields describes here:
The lyric essay asks what happens when an essay begins to behave less like an essay and more like a poem. What happens when an essayist starts imagining things, making things up, filling in blank spaces, or leaving the blanks blank? What happens when statistics, reportage, and observation in an essay are abandoned for image, emotion, expressive transformation? There are now questions being asked of facts that were never asked before. What, we ask, is a fact these days? What’s a lie, for that matter? What constitutes an “essay,” a “story,” a “poem”? What, even, is “experience”? For years writers have been responding to this slippage of facts in a variety of ways–from the fragmentary forms of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry that try to mimic this loss to the narrative-driven attempts by novelists and memoirists to smooth over the gaps. The lyric essay, on the other hand, inherits from the principal strands of nonfiction the makings of its own hybrid version of the form. It takes the subjectivity of the personal essay and the objectivity of the public essay and conflates them into a literary form that relies on both art and fact, on imagination and observation, rumination and argumentation, human faith and human perception.
From the website:
Thelma Golden, curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, talks through three recent shows that explore how art examines and redefines culture. The “post-black” artists she works with are using their art to provoke a new dialogue about race and culture — and about the meaning of art itself.