Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Myth and Creativity: Ariadne’s Thread and a Path Through the Labyrinth
Allison Stieger

"The process of living creatively brings new things into the world and to humankind, but there is a monster guarding the gift, because the maze "takes one to the center of one's self, to some hidden, inner shrine, occupied by the most mysterious portion of the human personality".

A performance with compositions of Clio Karabelias and a butoh:contemporary dance by Marianna Tsagaraki

Tuesday, March 3, 2015



Sometimes you have to take your own hand
as though you were a lost child
and bring yourself stumbling
home over twisted ice.

Whiteness drifts over your house.
A page of warm light
falls steady from the open door.

Here is your bed, folded open.
Lie down, lie down, let the blue snow cover you.

Louise Erdrich

Sunday, March 1, 2015


The Other Side of the Argument

But she prefers the morning glory,
How slowly its bloom unfurls,
How its curl of vine
Catches the flaw in masonry
First, then the crosshatch
Of kite string we hung
From the porch
As a makeshift trellis,

How it needs only a foothold
To fill half the day with blue.

Eric Pankey

From here:

Touched, they fly


There is a flower called touch-me-not,
which means, of course, touch me,
for it depends upon touch for propagation,
as humans do. 

The blossom may be
two tones of orange, the darker exquisitely
freckling the lighter, or a clear lovely
yellow, an elegant aperture, inviting entry
by winged emissaries of imagination
actuated by love. 

The seed pods are made
of coil springs laid straight in the pod’s
shape; ripe, the seeds are restrained in
suspension of tension. 

Touched, they fly.

Wendell Berry

Spotted Touch-me-not:

Seed Dispersal:

Video, exploding seed capsules:

From here:

The Social Genome

Die, selfish gene, die
For decades, the selfish gene metaphor let us view evolution with new clarity. Is it now blinding us?
David Dobbs

"... If faced with clues that food might be scarce, such as hunger or crowding, certain grasshopper species can transform within days or even hours from their solitudinous hopper states to become part of a maniacally social locust scourge. They can also return quickly to their original form."

"...This raises a question: if merely reading a genome differently can change organisms so wildly, why bother rewriting the genome to evolve? How vital, really, are actual changes in the genetic code? Do we always need DNA changes to adapt to new environments? Are there other ways to get the job done? Is the importance of the gene as the driver of evolution being overplayed?"

"...Perhaps better then to speak not of genes but the genome — all your genes together. And not the genome as a unitary actor, but the genome in conversation with itself, with other genomes, and with the outside environment. If grasshoppers becoming locusts, sweet bees becoming killers, and genetic assimilation are to be believed it’s those conversations that define the organism and drive the evolution of new traits and species. It’s not a selfish gene or a solitary genome. It’s a social genome."

Friday, February 27, 2015

And that sometimes, in a breeze

Poem for a Man with No Sense of Smell

This is simply to inform you:

that the thickest line in the kink of my hand
smells like the feel of an old school desk,
the deep carved names worn sleek with sweat;

that beneath the spray of my expensive scent
my armpits sound a bass note strong
as the boom of a palm on a kettle drum;

that the wet flush of my fear is sharp
as the taste of an iron pipe, midwinter,
on a child’s hot tongue; and that sometimes,

in a breeze, the delicate hairs on the nape
of my neck, just where you might bend
your head, might hesitate and brush your lips,

hold a scent frail and precise as a fleet
of tiny origami ships, just setting out to sea.

Kate Clanchy
from Selected Poems, Picador, 2014.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Seeing Truly

"You don't think in depression that you've put on a gray veil and are seeing the world through the haze of a bad mood. You think that the veil has been taken away, the veil of happiness, and that now you're seeing truly.

It's easier to help schizophrenics who perceive that there's something foreign inside of them that needs to be exorcised, but it's difficult with depressives, because we believe we are seeing the truth."

Monday, February 16, 2015

In fact I'm looking for courage

Louise Gl├╝ck

You want to know how I spend my time?

I walk the front lawn, pretending
to be weeding. You ought to know
I'm never weeding, on my knees, pulling
clumps of clover from the flower beds: in fact

I'm looking for courage, for some evidence
my life will change, though
it takes forever, checking
each clump for the symbolic
leaf, and soon the summer is ending, already

the leaves turning, always the sick trees
going first, the dying turning
brilliant yellow, while a few dark birds perform
their curfew of music.

You want to see my hands?
As empty now as at the first note.

Or was the point always
to continue without a sign?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

These days, I am an open wound

Over It

Now the splinter-sized dagger that jabs at my heart has
lodged itself in my aorta, I can’t worry it
anymore. I liked the pain, the
dig of remembering, the way, if I
moved the dagger just so, I could
see his face, jiggle the hilt and hear his voice
clearly, a kind of music played on my bones
and memory, complete with the hip-hop beat
of his defunct heart.

Now what am I
supposed to do? I am dis-
inclined toward rehab. Prefer the steady
jab jab jab that reminds me I’m still
living. Two weeks after he died,
a friend asked if I was “over it.”
As if my son’s death was something to get
through, like the flu.

Now it’s past the five-year slot.
Maybe I’m okay that he isn’t anymore,
maybe not. These days,
I am an open wound. Cry easily.
Need an arm to lean on.

You know what I want?
I want to ask my friend how her only daughter
is doing. And for one moment, I want her to tell me she’s
dead so I can ask my friend if she’s over it yet.
I really want to know.

Alexis Rhone Fancher

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

To be held in that line of force, however briefly

Lines of Force

The pleasure of walking a long time on the mountain
without seeing a human being, much less speaking to one.

And the pleasure of speaking when one is suddenly there.
The upgrade from wary to tolerant to convivial,
so unlike two brisk bodies on a busy street
for whom a sudden magnetic attraction
is a mistake, awkwardness, something to be sorry for.

But to loiter, however briefly, in a clearing
where two paths intersect in the matrix of chance.
To stop here speaking the few words that come to mind.
A greeting. Some earnest talk of weather.
A little history of the day.

To stand there then and say nothing.
To slowly look around and past each other.
Notice the green tang pines exude in the heat
and the denser sweat of human effort.

To have nothing left to say
but not wanting just yet to move on.
The tension between you, a gossamer thread.
It trembles in the breeze, holding
the thin light it transmits.

To be held in that
line of force, however briefly,
as if it were all that mattered.

And then to move on.
With equal energy, with equal pleasure.

Thomas Centolella

This snow, this transformation

How snow falls

Like the unshaven prickle
of a sharpened razor,
this new coldness in the air,
the pang
of something intangible.

Filling our eyes,
the sinusitis of perfume
without the perfume.

And then love's vertigo,
love's exactitude,
this snow, this transfiguration
we never quite get over.

Craig Raine

Monday, February 9, 2015

The great opportunity is where you are

“Look underfoot. You are always nearer to the true sources of your power than you think. The lure of the distant and the difficult is deceptive. The great opportunity is where you are. Don't despise your own place and hour. Every place is the center of the world.”

John Burroughs

Eventually we will be dust together

Promise of Blue Horses

A blue horse turns into a streak of lightning,
then the sun -
relating the difference between sadness
and the need to praise that which makes us joyful,

I can't calculate how the earth tips hungrily
toward the sun - then soaks up rain -
or the density of this unbearable need
to be next to you.

It's a palpable thing - this earth philosophy
and familiar in the dark, like your skin under my hand.
We are a small earth. It's no simple thing.
Eventually we will be dust together;

can be used to make a house, to stop
a flood or grow food
for those who will never remember who we were,
or know that we loved fiercely.

Laughter and sadness eventually become the same song
turning us toward the nearest star -
a star constructed of eternity and elements of dust barely visible
in the twilight as you travel east.

I run with the blue horses of electricity who surround the heart
and imagine a promise made
when no promise was possible.

Joy Harjo, 'How We Become Human'

Once intoxicated

Dreams and Poetry
Hu Shih (1891-1962)

It’s all ordinary experience, 
All ordinary images.
By chance they emerge in a dream,
Turning out infinite patterns.

It’s all ordinary feelings,
All ordinary words.
By chance they encounter a poet,
Turning out infinite new verses.

Once intoxicated, one learns the strength of wine,
Once smitten, one learns the power of love:
You cannot write my poems
Just as I cannot dream your dreams.

Meet me in Istanbul

Next Time

I'll know the names of all of the birds
and flowers, and not only that, I'll
tell you the name of the piano player
I'm hearing right now on the kitchen
radio, but I won't be in the kitchen,

I'll be walking a street in
New York or London, about
to enter a coffee shop where people
are reading or working on their
laptops. They'll look up and smile.

Next time I won't waste my heart
on anger; I won't care about
being right. I'll be willing to be
wrong about everything and to
concentrate on giving myself away.

Next time, I'll rush up to people I love,
look into their eyes, and kiss them, quick.
I'll give everyone a poem I didn't write,
one specially chosen for that person.
They'll hold it up and see a new
world. We'll sing the morning in,

and I will keep in touch with friends,
writing long letters when I wake from
a dream where they appear on the
Orient Express. "Meet me in Istanbul,"
I'll say, and they will.

Joyce Sutphen