Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

art is autonomous

Attention Span 2011 | John Palattella

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Annie Dillard | Pilgrim at Tinker Creek | Harper | 1974

The electron is like a muskrat; it cannot be perfectly stalked.

T.S. Eliot, eds. Valerie Eliot and Hugh Haughton | The Letters of T.S. Eliot, Volume 2: 1923–1925 | Faber | 2009

…the Editor has to combine and reconcile principle, sensibility, and business sense. That is why an editor’s life is such a bloody sweat.

Merrill Gilfillan | The Bark of the Dog | Flood | 2010

Sprigs for sunrise,
sprigs for Taos, and soldiers
on the steep blue sea.

Peter Gizzi | Threshold Songs | Wesleyan | 2011

And my body also
a commotion of sound
and form. Of tides.

Tony Judt | Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 | Penguin | 2005

The much-anticipated transition from capitalism to socialism had been theorized ad nauseum in academies, universities and coffee bars from Belgrade to Berkeley; but no-one had thought to offer a blueprint for the transition from socialism to capitalism.

James Longenbach | The Iron Key | Norton | 2010

Hephaestus, carve me a hollow cup!
The dark earth drinks, and the trees drink the earth.
The sea drinks the wind,
The sun drinks the sea.

Jennifer Moxley | Coastal | The Song Cave | 2011

A muggy sunny day, better for plants than people.

Lorine Niedecker, ed. Jenny Penberthy | Collected Works | California | 2002

Ruby of corundum
lapis lazuli
from changing limestone
glow-apricot red-brown
carnelian sard
Greek named
Exodus-antique
kicked up in America’s
Northwest
you have been in my mind
between my toes
agate

David Rieff | Swimming in a Sea of Death | Simon & Schuster | 2008

My mother’s “default mode” had always been the transcendental, or, perhaps more accurately, that of the exemplary student who also aspires to be the exemplary soul. Don’t laugh or smile condescendingly, dear reader: there are more ignoble ambitions.

Marilynne Robinson | The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought | Houghton Mifflin | 1998

Economics, the great model now among us, indulges and deprives, builds and abandons, threatens and promises. Its imperium is manifest, irrefragable—as in fact it has been since antiquity. Yet suddenly we act as if the reality of economics were really reality itself, the one Truth to which everything must refer. I can only suggest that terror at complexity has driven us back on this very crude monism. We have reached a point where cosmology permits us to say that everything might in fact be made of nothing, so we cling desperately to the idea that something is real and necessary, and we have chosen, oddly enough, competition and market forces, taking refuge from the wild epic of cosmic ontogeny by hiding our head in the ledger.

W.B. Yeats | The Poems | Macmillan | 1983

We had fed the heart on fantasies,
The hearts grown brutal from the fare;
More substance in our enmities
Than in our love; O honey-bees,
Come build in the empty house of the stare.

§

John Palattella is the Literary Editor for The Nation. Palattella’s Attention Span for 201020092008200720062005. Back to 2011 Directory.


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