Friday, January 15, 2010

farewell Goh Poh Seng, who I spoke to at Gerry Gilbert's memorial...

The Poetry of Goh Poh Seng

And when my time comes,
it will be westward
to be engulfed by the sea,
like Hinerangi over the glittering
pathway of Tane
to the realm of
benign protectress
of Rarohenga,
the assembly place of souls,
where old Ra, the Sun God,
presides golden over a cloudless sky:
just like this late afternoon,
the way he set, spilling gold
over Anawhata...

interesting slice (among many) of Northwest Coast History:Wilson Duff and Michael Kew: 1957 article on SGang Gwaay
Duff and Kew describe in full the environment and setting of Anthony Island, the town site and associated archaeological sites, and also gives a full account of the early period conflict between Haida and trading ships. In particular, vivid detail is given of the rise and fall of Chief Koyah and the serial raids he led on trading ships...

Rare etchings by William Blake discovered in railway timetable
In among a box of second-hand books bought from a North London dealer in the late 1970s was a thick international railway timetable...

Thursday, January 14, 2010


A newly formatted
raven's tongue
pops digitally out & in

through trombone beak
Texas jug band style
but overhead no newscrawl

no basslines from inland terraces
or hoots from hominid heights,
offroad daytrippers drop

from arbutus cloudtops
like badgers into a crevasse
their midwinter cushion full stop tree

bent under their towhee obesity;
the tread of a groundwater smeller
rumbles through the cellar.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

from Marianne Moore, in
Isola di Rifiuti
“Fear of insufficiency is synonymous with insufficiency and fear of incorrectness makes for rigidity. Indeed, any concern about how well one’s work is going to be received seems to mildew effectiveness."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Rebecca West 1914  The Duty Of Harsh Criticism
There is now no criticism in England. There is merely a chorus of weak cheers, a piping note of appreciation that is not stilled unless a book is suppressed by the police, a mild kindliness that neither heats to enthusiasm nor reverses to anger. We reviewers combine the gentleness of early Christians with a promiscuous polytheism; we reject not even the most barbarous or most fatuous gods. So great is our amiability that it might proceed from the weakness of malnutrition, were it not that it is almost impossible not to make a living as a journalist. Nor is it due to compulsion from above, for it is not worth an editor's while to veil the bright rage of an entertaining writer for the sake of publishers' advertisements. No economic force compels this vice of amiability. It springs from a faintness of the spirit, from a convention of pleasantness, which, when attacked for the monstrous things it permits to enter the mind of the world, excuses itself by protesting that it is a pity to waste fierceness on things that do not matter...

pancakes with Stephen Shore
It's a very different thing to have the food in front of you and take a picture with a 35 mm—just like that. With the 4 x 5, I was standing on a chair, and the camera was over here, and the food was cold by the time I took the picture...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Americanization of Mental Illness
If our rising need for mental-health services does indeed spring from a breakdown of meaning, our insistence that the rest of the world think like us may be all the more problematic. Offering the latest Western mental-health theories, treatments and categories in an attempt to ameliorate the psychological stress sparked by modernization and globalization is not a solution; it may be part of the problem. When we undermine local conceptions of the self and modes of healing, we may be speeding along the disorienting changes that are at the very heart of much of the world’s mental distress...

Getting Away with Torture
Arar's claims were simple: to forcibly send him to Syria to be tortured violates the Constitution's due process clause, which the Supreme Court has interpreted as forbidding conduct that "shocks the conscience," as well as the Torture Victim Protection Act, which allows torture victims to sue those who subject them to torture "under color of foreign law." Courts have long held that torture is the paradigmatic example of conduct that "shocks the conscience" and violates due process. And Arar alleged that the US defendants sent him to Syria for the purpose of subjecting him to torture under Syrian law. These allegations were largely confirmed not only by the Canadian investigation, but also by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general. In twenty-five years as a lawyer, I have never had a clearer and more egregious case of abuse...