Sunday, February 16, 2020

Ralph, come back, it was only a rash

--- quoted by Brian Boyd in "Literature and Discovery," Philosophy and Literature 23(2):313-333 (1999), DOI: 10.1353/phl.1999.0028http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/phl.1999.0028

Excerpt
To treat literature as art doesn't require prostrate reverence before old men on dusty pedestals. Let me offer an example. Twenty years ago, in a calendar of Auckland city scenes, one photograph showed a beach front, a scoria embankment, and a man jogging past, allowing us to see the scale of things. In letters more than two feet high, and in a message about thirty feet long, someone had spray-painted on the scoria wall a great graffito, a single sentence: "Ralph, come back, it was only a rash."
Also quoted in his book On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction (2010)

Friday, February 14, 2020

Write what you must, then walk away from it

--- Carl Phillips, from "Craft and vision" in Wild is the Wind (2018)

From the poem
. . . Write what you must, then walk away from it is
not the hardest thing I've ever had to learn, by any stretch,
only one of the hardest. . . .

Without mystery, what chance for hope

--- Carl Phillips, from "A stillness between the hunting and the chase" in Wild is the Wind (2018)

From the poem
                                                . . .  But this is waking,
and this his favorite horse, whom he's never named,
that's how much he loves her, though she's
          branded, sure, the way all his horses are: "Without
mystery, what chance for hope"–in Latin, on the left
flank where it catches the light, loses it, the king
           sashless and in flight, though it looks processional,
he thinks–stately, almost–as the newly fallen believe
at first there's still a plan available: they'll save themselves.

The higher gods having long refused me, let the gods deemed lesser do the best they can

--- Carl Phillips, from "Brothers in Arms," in Wild is the Wind (2018)

From the poem
                                                                    . . .   The higher
gods having long refused me, let the gods deemed lesser
do the best they can
 — so a friend I somewhere along the way
lost hold of used to drunkenly announce, usually just before
passing out. I think he actually believed that stuff; he must
surely, by now, be dead. . . .