Friday, August 31, 2012


Jack Kerouac was like a man observing his river, sitting in the rain, letting it soak through his clothes, his skin, his being, his self; a man weighed down, feeling the cold, his tears as opaque as his heart. He was a Catholic man, "I'm a Catholic all along. I was really kidding Gary Snyder. Boy, they're so gullible;" he was a man imbued with service and sacrifice; he was a lover of God invested in the purification of the soul to be made ready for the resurrection of the dead; yet he was a creature confused by the conflicting pulls between loving and dying, willful individualism and martyrdom.

Still, he was a Catholic poet — his cross was not a plain cross, not a Protestant cross, stripped of the body of the sacrificed man-God. His cross bore Christ on it, and Christ was his own heart that bled like an iron rose, a Rose-En-Fer. "Wealth was neither a power / nor a consolation; he could only exist through love, through / religion, and through his faith in the future. Love made him / understand eternity. His heart and the gospels marked out / two worlds awaiting him. Night and day he was plunged in / the depths of infinite thoughts, which for him perhaps merged / into one."

~ from the Introduction


Jack Kerouac
Collected Poems
edited by Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell
(Library of America, 2012)

A long way from

---The Beat Generation

In the rain forest

Thursday, August 30, 2012



uk: the guardian

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


János Pilinszky
(Budapest, 25 November 1921 – Budapest, 27 May 1981)


to Ted Hughes

It arrives. It stiffens
on the ashen silent wall:
the moon. A single immense blow.
Its core is a death-stillness.

It shatters the roads
the moonlight shatters them.
It rips the wall apart.
White gushes over the black.

The black day splits with lightning.
And lightning. And lightning.
Cataracts of white and black.
You comb your hair in the magnetic tempest.

You comb your hair in the flashing silence.
In a mirror more vigilant than the unfinished past.

You comb your hair in the mirror
silently, as in a coffin of glass.


Only the warmth of the slaughter-house,

its geranium pungency, its soft shellac,

only the sun exists.

In a glass-cased silence

the butcher-boys wash down. Yet what has happened

somehow cannot even now finish.


Just like the earth where I shall soar

unmoving, and crumble:

just like the water, so near

is the solemn hour of weeping.


As I was at the start

so, all along, I have remained.

The way I began, so I will go on to the end.

Like the convict who returning

to his village, goes on being silent.

Speechless he sits in front of his glass of wine.


The antelope is looking at herself

in a perfectly-fashioned mirror.

Hanging at her neck: a gem.

Of her we say: beautiful as a tapestry.

We say: you just go on looking at yourself

and we shall bear children, be born, die.

We whisper things of this kind

to the antelope living in madness.


Two white weights are watching each other,

two snow-white and pitch-black weights.

I am because I am not.


In the narrowest possible space

you achieved the forbidden.

You marvelled at the ceremony

which is a slaughter-house, though it has no dimension,

reaches to the elbow, though it is not in time.

Only later did you hear what

you have withheld, then entering the garden

you were astonished by the magic of the full moon.


I am alone. And by the time you come
I shall be the only one still alive.
Feathers in an empty roost.
Stars instead of a sky.

In my orphanage, unburied,
as on a wintry dump
picking among the rubbish
I keep finding scraps of my life.

And that will be seamless peace.
Even my heart inaudible.
All around me the ecstatic
barriers of silence.

Naked eternity.
And yours, helplessly yours.
A majestic simplicity
created for you, from the first day.

Like a lumpish basketwork dummy
time simply sits, without a word.
Desire has lost its limbs.
It has nothing but a gasping trunk.

By the time you come I shall have lost everything.
No house, no soft bed.
We shall be able to lie undisturbed
in a bare ecstasy.

Only you must not rob me, you must not desert me.
If you are weak, I am finished.
Horrible, then, to awake, in a bed
among pillows, hearing the noise of the street.


We are tossing in a net of stars.
Fish hauled up to the beach,
gasping in nothingness,
mouths snapping dry void.
Whispering, the lost element
calls us in vain.
Choking among edged stones
and pebbles, we must
live and die in a heap.
Our hearts convulse,
our writhings maim
and suffocate our brother.
Our cries conflict but
not even an echo answers.
We have no reason
to fight and kill
but we must.
So we atone but our atonement
does not suffice.
No suffering
can redeem our hells.
We are tossing in a starry net
and at midnight
maybe we shall lie on the table
of a mighty fisherman.


János Pilinszky
from The Desert of Love
selected poems translated by
Janos Csokits
& Ted Hughes
(Anvil, 1989)

Well known within the Hungarian borders for his vast influence on postwar Hungarian poetry, Pilinszky’s style includes a juxtaposition of Roman Catholic faith and intellectual disenchantment. His poetry often focuses on the underlying sensations of life and death; his time as a prisoner of war during the Second World War and later his life under the communist dictatorship furthered his isolation and estrangement.

Born in a family of intellectuals in 1921, Pilinszky went on to study Hungarian literature, law, and art history at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, in 1938. Although he failed to complete his studies, it was during this same year that his first works of poetry were published in several varying literary journals. In 1944 he was drafted into the army; his unit being ordered to follow the retreating German allies, he arrived to Harbach, a small village in Germany, after a march of several weeks. Adrift in Germany, he witnessed several camps before he could return to Hungary after the end of the war, most notably the Ravensbrück concentration camp. What he saw in the camps was an experience he never forgot and later commemorated in a great number of poems, most notably, KZ-oratórium ("KZ oratory"), Ravensbrücki passió ("Passion of Ravensbrück"), Harbach 1944, etc.

Following the publication of his first body of work in 1946, Trapéz és korlát ("Trapeze and Bars"), he was awarded the Baumgarten Prize in 1947. While Trapéz és korlát consists of only 18 poems, it established Pilinszky as a major poetic force in Hungary.

His next publication, 1959’s Harmadnapon ("On the third day"), was not released for over 10 years as a result of his being labeled “pessimistic” by the ruling Hungarian Communist Party in the 1950s. Harmadnapon contains his poem Apokrif ("Apocrypha"), considered his chef-d'oeuvre, which many see as one of the highest peaks of Hungarian poetry. The poem has the return of the prodigal son to his parents in its centre, and summarises Pilinszky's poetic world from his experiences in the lagers to his alienation and the painful absence of God from the world.

From 1960 to 1970, he travelled the United States and Europe taking part in several poetry readings. In 1971 he was awarded the József Attila Prize for his collection entitled Nagyvárosi ikonok ("Metropolitan Icons"). His monumental and visionary poems gave way to short, epigrammatic verses over time. 1972 saw the publication of Szálkák ("Splinters"), followed by Végkifejlet ("Dénouement") in 1974. His last collection, Kráter ("Crater") was published in 1975, containing both new poems and the majority of his rather short, but extremely substantial and concise oeuvre rearranged in cycles. He was awarded the Kossuth Prize in 1980 before returning to Budapest where he died of a heart attack in 1981.

Pilinszky lead a very reserved private life. He discovered his homosexuality at a very early age, but due to his deep Christian beliefs he purged it in himself for the rest of his life.[1] Eventually he married a French woman, Ingrid Ficheux, 11 months before his death.



Everything will be forsaken then

The silence of the heavens will be set apart
and forever apart
the broken-down fields of the finished world,
and apart
the silence of dog-kennels.
In the air a fleeing host of birds.
And we shall see the rising sun
dumb as a demented eye-pupil
and calm as a watching beast.

But keeping vigil in banishment
because that night
I cannot sleep I toss
as the tree with its thousand leaves
and at dead of night I speak as the tree:

Do you know the drifting of the years
the years over the crumpled fields?
Do you understand the wrinkle
of transience? Do you comprehend
my care-gnarled hands? Do you know
the name of orphanage? Do you know
what pain treads the unlifting darkness
with cleft hooves, with webbed feet?
The night, the cold, the pit. Do you know
the convict's head twisted askew?
Do you know the caked troughs, the tortures
of the abyss?

The sun rose. Sticks of trees blackening
in the infra-red of the wrathful sky.
So I depart. facing devastation
a man is walking, without a word.
He has nothing. He has his shadow.
And his stick. And his prison garb.


And this is why I learned to walk! For these
belated bitter steps.

Evening will come, and night will petrify
above me with its mud. Beneath closed eyelids
I do not cease to guard this procession
these fevered shrubs, their tiny twigs.
Leaf by leaf, the glowing little wood.
Once Paradise stood here.
In half-sleep, the renewal of pain,
to hear its gigantic trees.

Home—I wanted finally to get home—
to arrive as he in the Bible arrived.
My ghastly shadow in the courtyard.
Crushed silence, aged parents in the house.
And already they are coming, they are calling me,
my poor ones, and already crying,
and embracing me, stumbling —
the ancient order opens to readmit me.
I lean out on the windy stars.

If only for this once I could speak with you
whom I loved so much. Year after year
yet I never tired of saying over
what a small child sobs
into the gap between the palings,
the almost choking hope
that I come back and find you.
Your nearness throbs in my throat.
I am agitated as a wild beast.

I do not speak your words,
the human speech. There are birds alive
who flee now heart-broken
under the sky, under the fiery sky.
Forlorn poles stuck in the glowing field,
and immovably burning cages.
I do not understand the human speech,
and do not speak your language.
My voice is more homeless than the word!
I have no words.

----------------------Its horrible burden
tumbles down through the air—
a rower's body emits sounds.

You are nowhere. How empty the world is.
A garden chair, and a deckchair left outside.
Among sharp stones my clangorous shadow.
I am tired. I jut out from the earth.


God sees that I stand in the sun.
He sees my shadow on stone and on fence.
He sees my shadow standing
without a breath in the airless press.

But then I am already like the stone:
a dead fold, a drawing of a thousand grooves,
a good handful of rubble
is by then the creature's face.

And instead of tears, the wrinkles on the faces
trickling, the empty ditch trickles down.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Cat Power
(Chan Marshall)

quite nice of The Guardian, UK to offer this:

Monday, August 27, 2012


Gene Autry

Buttons And Bows (Album Version) by Gene Autry on Grooveshark

I wanna be a cowboy's sweetheart by Patsy Montana on Grooveshark

"Canadian-born Robert Nobles spent part of his childhood in the Arizona desert, for which all lovers of Western music may be thankful. As "Bob Nolan", a founding member of the legendary Sons of the Pioneers, he gave us some of the finest poetry and most satisfying melodies in the history of the genre. The words to one of his early compositions, concerning the tumbling leaves of autumn, were misunderstood by 1933 radio fans of the Pioneer Trio, many of whom wrote in to request the song about the "tumbling weeds." Nolan did a quick rewrite and thus was born a cowboy classic. The Sons of the Pioneers recorded the song for Decca in 1934 as one side of their very first release, but it was Gene Autry's 1935 cover — with his slightly different arrangement — that earned the gold disc and brought Nolan's work to prominence. Later that same year it also served as the title for Gene's first starring feature film for Republic Pictures."

~ Jon Guyot Smith
from Gene Autry, Sing Cowboy Sing
(Rhino Records)

No offense, but we prefer Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers version :

Tumbling Tumbleweeds by Sons of the Pioneers on Grooveshark

Keeper Of My Heart by Bob Wills on Grooveshark

The Sons of the Pioneers

Rawhide by Frankie Laine on Grooveshark

Old Rivers by Walter Brennan with the Johnny Mann Singers on Grooveshark

As Long As The Grass Shall Grow by Peter La Farge on Grooveshark

Emmylou Harris

Rose Of Cimarron by Emmylou Harris on Grooveshark

Man With a Harmonica by Once Upon a Time in the West/Ennio Morricone on Grooveshark

Billy the Kid

Big Iron by Marty Robbins on Grooveshark

The Dying Cowboy by Cisco Houston on Grooveshark

Billy Joe Shaver
© Matt Lankes

The Greatest Man Alive by Billy Joe Shaver on Grooveshark

Cowboy Jack Clement

Dreaming My Dreams With You by Cowboy Jack Clement on Grooveshark

Mary McCaslin

Don't Fence Me In by Mary McCaslin on Grooveshark

It doesn't matter where you were born when it comes to the west — scholars have Billy the Kid born in an Irish neighborhood of New York City, as was Walter Brennan born of Irish immigrants in eastern Massachusetts; and Cisco Houston born on the east coast but raised in California ditto the Sierra Nevada climber Clarence King came out of posh Newport, Rhode Island (what's he doing here? Well, when I hear western songs I see mountains). Emmylou Harris is a southern belle; and Mary McCaslin, with a melody sure of the west, was born in Indianapolis. Patsy Montana's real name was Ruby Rose Blevins, pure Arkansas. Likewise the other Arkansas wonder Johnny Cash. Chicago's Frankie Laine was born Francesco Paolo LoVecchio, enough said.
Of course both Bob Wills and Billy Joe Shaver are T-is-for-Texas; as Cowboy Jack Clement is Memphis, Peter La Farge all Southwest. June Carter Cash was born in Virginia and country music via the Carter Family at the age of ten. Marty Robbins was born outside of Phoenix, though I believe he was born with a golden voice.

Over the Next Hill (We'll Be Home) by Johnny Cash on Grooveshark

Sunday, August 26, 2012


enough said


Hayden Carruth


From Clay Hill, high,

next to the old pitched cultivation

of the settlers' graveyard, I watch you,

eastward of the mountain there

rising, your glowing fervent bronze, so full

though with one edge blurred

as if in sympathy with the settlers lying

half in the blurred

receding shadow of April's snow.

I watch you, along and lonely,

both of us lonely, full of this late

fire. Then I descend once more

to the cove, to deepening snow and the house

that stands by the loud brook in freshet

under the hemlock bank, finding

my loves there, companionate and always

careful of me. And you

are hidden by banked black boughs,

as I am hidden by love.

----------------------------Hours later

when the night has gone to frost

again, a reversion to winter,

I walk out onto the crusted snow

and there you are, high

in the winter sky again, so clear,

like a free flake in the stream

of stars. I have found you.

I lean to you in the depths

of cold and darkness, you always there

and yet often hidden, as I too

am where I am always, hidden.


from From Snow and Rock, From Chaos (1973)
Republished in 2012:
Last Poems, Hayden Carruth
(Copper Canyon)

One of my favorite of Hayden Carruth's many books of poetry is From Snow and Rock, From Chaos (1973). A subtle and tidy size book published from New Directions. I met Hayden around this time so the poems seem to come to me with memories and time. Susan and I had come to pay Hayden and his wife Rose Marie a visit during our honeymoon (the next night we stayed with Lois and David Budbill) and I well remember standing on the road by Hayden's small house in what seemed to be a ravine along the brook (the brook of many poems) with a field up high on the edge of the road across from the house. That may have been Marshall's field; Marshall of many of Hayden's poems. Local farmer. Local wise man.

Decades later we went to find that house and site and ravine and moment, and couldn't.

The photograph above I took when Hayden came here for his 65th birthday. A party was dealt by his then girlfriend and a friend of ours. He's steady-eddie with his gaze here, but he was smiling at the party, many close friends turned up for HC.

This new book draws the last poems from each of Hayden's books of poems. A lovely idea. It sort of plays as a segue to showcase his very last poems as well, but some of those aren't very good. The last poems from each book remain quite sound and often brilliant. There are two essays by author friends — Stephen Dobyns maybe being the better of the two — though I'm prejudice, missing a Vermont author (Budbill, Geoff Hewitt, Kinnell?) who may have shone a light on the earlier years in the region where I believe Hayden wrote his strongest poems. There is nothing like the hallow of the early Vermont poems, nor the verbose and rhythm of the more physical and active later Vermont poems, when HC was in his prime, mostso shown in Brothers, I Loved You All (1978) and in the long poem sequence Paragraphs.

After Hayden left Vermont he seemed to let loose with himself and his poetry. There's also something very good about that.

photo © bob arnold

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Not everything makes sense, entirely — including what I'm about to share. We were traveling home tonight in the woods dark (darker than dark), on an off-shoot passage, gone 18 hours and rounding out the day, happy with one another, when I said, "You make a right at the wigwam." Yes, the wigwam. It's there, has been, in fact, for over a half-century. I remember it as a boy right there in the same place, never has moved. Late at night, with only two headlight beams, it's been our touchstone. It's name and word choice then reminded us of a song. Not just any song.

Wigwam by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

birch bark construct

Friday, August 24, 2012


Ansel Adams at work

[ Letter to Richard ]

We’re now in that string of three months that Sweetheart and I love the most — August September October. Part harvest time, part getting in those last lovely days of summer which often can leak into early November, and part moving and grooving toward serious preparation for winter. This means firewood. Even though this year’s wood and even next year’s wood is all taken care of, the mighty squirrel nature of the true New Englander is all the time moving at and thinking about fuel. Food from the garden and the orchard, firewood from the woodlot. All paths must head that way.

Yesterday I painted the front of the house and tied in and have now finished all the house over the summer. I let things wait on the front because the sun blazes there all June and July and by late August what paint I put on earlier, even if it is high quality Benjamin Moore, would be bleached down from a true brightness. If the nutty Global Warming gods wish to do as they wish (and they have been) we could have August weather until December. So be it then, never argue with the gods. Complain to them, but argue they don’t know.

I painted the front of the house in a few strokes less than a gallon of paint. The china bristle brush I have maneuvered and maintained and babied for ten years. I’ve done many house paintings with this one brush. The ladder I got free once as an exchange for something entirely different. The clean-up water was free. The soap probably cost 5-cents at most. My paint clothes are easily ten years old. So the cost, minus labor in the sun and joy and breeze of the day, to keep up the front of a house appearance, comes to around $35.05. I wait until the paint goes on sale in the spring at 30% discount and buy it then. Five gallons at once. Put it away for execution day(s). The house is all painted now for another year. May it bleed blood red through the winter snows.

I love your favorite writers lists. Never any arguments or complaints from me. We never have to agree about anything, and we are always fluent and agreeing! This, I believe, is one more secret in life. I won’t name names but I was friends with some fine American poets in my time — thinkers, doers, creators, philosophers, and almost every one seemed ruined by their opinions. As if their opinions mattered! They do, and they don’t. What matters is what you actually do and perform and make and create with your opinions, and how best they dovetail with existence. Life, relationships, love and balancing. It’s all about existence. Always has been.

I read David Brooks this morning in the Times. I always think the man, by his looks, should be more thoughtful and balanced in his outlook on life. But somehow he comes across almost berserk, while remaining thoughtful in appearance. Are our media minds being paid by the banks? How in the world can such a good mind even begin to justify the likes of a Willard Romney and his skinny sidekick a la 6th “son” Paul Ryan? Both are destructive snake oil salesmen. They know nothing about balance, nor anything about this existence I’ve been speaking to.

America is filled with bewilderment. It can’t be played with by strict laws. It has to be understood and guided, along with laws. It has to be thoughtful, even when a great deal of the problem is thoughtlessness. For some reason this has become lost in the mind of a great many Americans. You look at the lay of the land, the rivers, streams, National Parks and some of the mightiest highways and bends in the road at Big Sur and you know what we are capable of. Ever been to Chicago on a train? Standing on the ground underground in the city once upon a time and it hummed. Where has it gone? I believe up in smoke with a wired human body. The beauty of the landscape has to have at one time been handmade, preserved, struggled upon and even maligned by all of the same constituency. Where has that gone? Same place, same way. For decades we have seesawed with a political Right-wing, even up to Dick Cheney; but this new crew of hedge funders, businessmen only, sad sacks, soggy teabaggers is showing forth a threat to the social order and landscape and infrastructure of our individual living place, and this is extremely threatening and dangerous.

"Barack Obama didn't come through with all his campaign promises". Get over it. He's one man pushing a twenty-ton boulder up hill for four years. His biggest mistake was not slamming more politician and business creeps into prison, while taking some others out. He's just reaching his stride. If he were a white male and had eliminated Osama Bin Laden, there'd be a statue of his heroic self in every red state in the union.
There is something to be said about getting into the ring and fighting fair.

We have to get ourselves to New York State to see an old friend, then pack up and return home and do the same at my father and sister’s graves in the Berkshires. See that the graves are kept clean, indeed. Along the way, hunt and search and down on hands-and-knees the ever glorious new stock to keep our bookshop light on 24 hours a day. Do you know we keep this shop “on” almost twenty-four hours? I usually retire after midnight, and Sweetheart is up by 3:30, so the great Samuel Clemmons water wheel on the mighty Miss-is-sippi keeps turning.

Fall arrives on the back of the bluejay and its been calling along the woods edge for at least a week.

photos "Latch" and "Tailgate" © bob arnold

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Shelf cloud, Minnesota, US. When seen from the ground shelf clouds appear as low, wedge-shaped clouds and are usually associated with severe thunderstorms
Photograph: Science Photo Library/Rex Features

the guardian/uk

Gary Snyder at roughly the time of this reading

photo : Harry Redl

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Valley of the Gods, India
(take on the developers)


Scott McKenzie
w/ Michelle Phillips & Cass Elliot
January 10, 1939 – August 18, 2012

San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers In You Hair) 1967 Scott Mackenzie by Scott McKenzie on Grooveshark

"Scott McKenzie (born Philip Wallach Blondheim, January 10, 1939 – August 18, 2012) was an American singer. He was best known for his 1967 hit single and generational anthem, "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)".

Blondheim was born in Jacksonville, Florida in 1939. His family moved to Asheville, North Carolina when he was six months old. He grew up in North Carolina and Virginia, where he became friends with the son of one of his mother's friends, John Phillips. In the mid 1950s, he sang briefly with Tim Rose in a high school group called The Singing Strings, and later with Phillips, Mike Boran and Bill Cleary formed a doo wop band, The Abstracts.

In New York, The Abstracts became The Smoothies and recorded two singles with Decca Records, produced by Milt Gabler. During his time with The Smoothies, Blondheim decided to change his name for business reasons:

"[We] were working at one of the last great night clubs, The Elmwood Casino in Windsor, Ontario. We were part of a variety show ... three acts, dancing girls, and the entire cast took part in elaborate, choreographed stage productions ... As you might imagine, after-show parties were common.
"At one of these parties I complained that nobody could understand my real name ... [and] pointed out that this was a definite liability in a profession that benefited from instant name recognition. Everyone started trying to come up with a new name for me. It was [comedian] Jackie Curtis who said he thought I looked like a Scottie dog. Phillips came up with Laura's middle name after Jackie's suggestion. I didn't like being called "Scottie" so everybody agreed my new name could be Scott McKenzie."

In 1961 Phillips and McKenzie met Dick Weissman and formed The Journeymen, which recorded three albums and seven singles for Capitol Records. After The Beatles became popular in 1964, The Journeymen disbanded. McKenzie and Weissman became solo performers, while Phillips formed the group The Mamas & the Papas with Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot and Michelle Phillips and moved to California.

McKenzie originally declined an opportunity to join the group, saying in a 1977 interview, "I was trying to see if I could do something by myself. And I didn't think I could take that much pressure". Two years later, he left New York and signed with Lou Adler's Ode Records.

Phillips wrote and co-produced "San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)" for McKenzie. John Phillips played guitar on the recording and session musician Gary L Coleman played orchestra bells and chimes. The bass line of the song was supplied by session musician Joe Osborn. Hal Blaine played drums.

It was released on 13 May 1967 in the United States and was an instant hit, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also a #1 in the UK and several other countries, selling over seven million copies globally.

McKenzie followed the song with "Like An Old Time Movie", also written and produced by Phillips, which was a minor hit. His first album, The Voice of Scott McKenzie, was followed with an album called Stained Glass Morning. He stopped recording in the early 1970s and lived in Joshua Tree, California, and Virginia Beach, Virginia.

In 1986, he started singing with a new version of The Mamas and the Papas. With Terry Melcher, Mike Love and John Phillips, he co-wrote "Kokomo" (1988), a #1 single for the Beach Boys.

By 1998, he had retired from the road version of The Mamas and Papas, and resided in Los Angeles, California, until his death. He appeared at the Los Angeles tribute concert for John Phillips in 2001, amongst other 1960s contemporary acts.

He had suffered from Guillain–Barré syndrome since 2010.

McKenzie died on August 18, 2012 in Los Angeles."


Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Joe Hutchison lays it out


I wasn't sure how to go about it — shyness I guess — just how to show Joe Hutchison's review of my two new books Yokel and I'm In Love With You Who Is In Love With Me. Of course I love my two books or else I wouldn't have lived the life that made the poems that made the books, but I also love the words and care of a sincere reader. I've been reading Joe's reviews for a long long time now, and his own poems, and I like the muscle and webbing of his thinking. The books are done and the life is going along whether anyone likes anything about it or not. I'm not worried. But I do worry about the loss of fair thinkers, and wise and gifting teachers, and I'm happy to say Joe is one.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Workers covered the statue of former football coach Joe Paterno near Beaver Stadium on Penn State's campus before taking it down.


By Joe Posnanski

(Simon & Schuster)

excellent review by Dwight Garner (New York Times):


Henry Darger

One of only three known photographs
of the artist ~
photo by David Berglund in 1971
two years before Darger's passing

Henry Darger's one-room Chicago apartment

Known, now, as one of the celebrated examples of outsider art, Henry Joseph Darger Jr was born in Chicago on April 12, 1892 and died in the same city April 13, 1973. He worked as a custodian in a Chicago Catholic hospital almost all of his adult life. When not on the job, he was barely known or seen, living mainly as a recluse with his exclusive private world as a writer and artist. His posthumously-discovered 15,145 page, single spaced fantasy manuscript was his companion — it's title The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion is bound in fifteen volumes, densely packed with a myriad of illustrations and scroll-like watercolor paintings, spanning six decades of the artist's creation. A second work of fiction, written by Darger after The Realms is the 10,000 handwritten manuscript Crazy House: Further Adventures in Chicago. There was even a third manuscript, The History of My Life, covering almost 5,000 pages, in eight volumes, where the artist makes a stab at detailing his early life before being swept away in his memories by a devastating midwest tornado he witnessed in 1908 that he calls "Sweetie Pie". There are gorgeous books and more books and more books to come showcasing the artist's paintings and inner sanctum. Exhibits have been shown, and at least one exceptional documentary of the artist's life and work is available.

please click on images to read the text