on The Odor of Sanctity, poems by Michael Heffernan (Salmon Poetry)


What have I done? I said to my own self.
Who have I come to be? I said again.
My own self answered me in her own words.
She told me things I could not understand.
She watched my eyes move when she told me this.
They watched a bird go over the blue sky.
The blue sky took the bird and the bird left.
The air was blue all over where I was.

on The Dawn of the Color Photograph: Albert Kahn’s Archives of the Planet, by David Okefuna (Princeton)

“A phenomenon of such extended malignance as the Great War does not come out of a Golden Age,” wrote Barbara Tuchman in The Proud Tower (1962). The two decades preceding the war still provoke historians to ask why a period of such innovation and productivity led to unprecedented mass violence.

on Selected Poems of Friederich Hölderlin, translated by Maxine Chernoff and Paul Hoover (Omnidawn)

Friederich Hölderlin wrote almost all of his complete work between 1796 and 1803 including odes, elegies, hymns, the epistolary novel Hyperion, the verse tragedy Empedokles, and translations of Pindar. Over the following four years as his mental stability collapsed, he wrote several poetic fragments. One begins:

Once I asked the muse, and she

on Hotter Than That: The Trumpet, Jazz, and American Culture, by Krin Gabbard (Faber and Faber)

“Sometimes I feel the need for metallic sounds; in jazz you can hear knives singing. Knives rip up the psyche’s fabric to shreds and strengthen it in the process,” wrote the Polish poet Adam Zagajewski in Another Beauty. The trumpet has shredded without peers since the first ancient call to arms.

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