the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

Archive for July, 2012

Milosz on loving too much

Posted by rigorousm on July 18, 2012

…the greedy, the gluttonous, and the dissolute come out much better with their failings than do others. Their powerful will to life appears to be centrifugal, not centripetal; that is, it is directed toward the external world, toward its annexation. … since love directed outward, so to speak, toward things apprehended by the sense, is not an error, at worst its excessive greediness would incline one to offer this advice: Either be saintly or you will have to have less of this love of ours.

 

— Czeslaw Milosz, “Saligia” in To Begin Where I Am: Selected Essays p 295.

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It’s good to …

Posted by rigorousm on July 15, 2012

It’s good to be neuter.
I want to have meaningless legs.
There are things unbearable.
One can evade them a long time.
Then you die.

 

The ocean reminds me
of your green room.
There are things unbearable.
Scorn, princes, this little size
of dying.

 

My personal poetry is a failure.
I do not want to be a person.
I want to be unbearable.
Lover to lover, the greenness of love.
Cool, cooling.

 

Earth bears no such plant.
Who does not end up
a female impersonator?
Drink all the sex there is.
Still die.

 

I tempt you.
I blush.
There are things unbearable.
Legs, alas.
Legs die.

 

Rocking themselves down,
crazy slow,
some ballet term for it —-
fragment of foil, little
spin, little drunk, little do, little oh, alas.

 

— Anne Carson, “Stanzas, Sexes, Seduction”

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Sebald on material culture

Posted by rigorousm on July 14, 2012

Things outlast us, they know more about us than we know about them: they carry the experience they have had with us inside them and are—in fact—the book of our history opened before us.

— WGSebald, “Unrecounted,”

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herbert on unfeeling

Posted by rigorousm on July 12, 2012

The pebble

is a perfect creature

equal to itself

mindful of its limits

 

filled exactly

with a pebbly meaning

 

with a secret which does not remind one of anything

does not frighten anything away does not arouse desire

 

its ardour and coldness

are just and full of dignity

 

I feel a heavy remorse

when I hold it in my hand

 

and its noble body

is permeated by false warmth

 

Pebbles cannot be tamed

to the end they will look at us

with a calm and very clear eye

Zbigniew Herbert, “The Pebble.”

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milosz on nakedness

Posted by rigorousm on July 12, 2012

Men and women carry within their imaginations an image of themselves and of others as sexual beings and often that is the only thing that humanizes them. The sexual organs remind us of the transience, the fragility, the insecurity of existence; it is not for nothing that love and death have always been connected. Let us, then, praise guttural intonations, giggles, the lustfulness of eyes. An asexual imagination is the threat of abstraction, mechanical dolls passing each other, an invitation to murder. But the moment when the assembly of men and women appears in their childlike, immature form, with all the sly awkwardness of their evasions, is both possible and necessary. Then the fear of what is referred to as the demonism of sex, that is, of Nature who mocks our values, is tempered by pity and humor, fraternity appears, and a glimmer of paradise lost.

– Czeslaw Milosz, “Notebook” in To Begin Where I Am: Selected Essays, p436.

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quotes: milosz on hope in poetry

Posted by rigorousm on July 12, 2012

Sometimes the world loses its face. It becomes too base. The task of the poet is to restore its face, because otherwise man is lost in doubt and despair. It is an indication that the world need not always be like this; it can be different.

— Czeslaw Milosz, “A Semi-Private Letter about Poetry” in To Begin Where I Am: Selected Essays, p350.

 

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quotes: badiou on dancing

Posted by rigorousm on July 9, 2012

Dance… is innocence, because it is a body before the body. It is forgetting, because it is a body that forgets its fetters, its weight. It is a new beginning, because the dancing gesture must always be something like the invention of its own beginning. It is also play, of course, because dance frees the body from all social mimicry, from all gravity and conformity….

— Alan Badiou – The Handbook of Inaesthetics.

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quotes: bataille on museums and self knowledge

Posted by rigorousm on July 9, 2012

“It is in the crowd that the games, flashes, and flowing lights described technically by authorized crowds take place. … The museum is the colossal mirror in which man contemplates himself finally from all sides, finds himself literally admirable, and lets himself go to the ecstasy expressed in all the art reviews.”

— George Bataille, “Musee,” Documents 5, 1930.

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quotes: Bisterfield on breadth of knowledge

Posted by rigorousm on July 9, 2012

Where there is no order, there is no knowledge…. The encyclopedia is the most ordered structure of all disciplines, and therefore the painted amphitheater of the world.

– Johan Heinrich Bisterfield

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quotes: jg ballard defines the 20th centurhy

Posted by rigorousm on July 3, 2012

Project for a Glossary of the Twentieth Century
Phenomenology The central nervous system’s brave gamble that it exists.
Fashion A recognition that nature has endowed us with one skin too few, and that a fully sentient being should wear its nervous system externally.
Epidemiology Catastrophe theory in slow motion.
J G Ballard, / Zone 1992

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