Nouns XVIII

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I. “Being a reader becomes an identity unto itself.”

II. And why reading poetry is best for doctor and patient, a discussion of medical humanities over at Times Higher Education.  “Like the novel, poetry can tell us about human experience, but it does this in its own language and not the more straightforward language of prose. It works by suggestion, but this doesn’t mean that it cannot console, teach, amuse, enlighten, mimic, disconcert and so much more. It can capture – or cause us to reconstruct – experiences and feelings that we might otherwise not be conscious of.”

III.  “Perhaps the greatest reading pleasure has an element of self-annihilation. To be so engrossed that you barely know you exist.” -Ian McEwan (Yup.)

IV.  Reflections on anthologies over at Essay Press curated by David Lazar and featuring John D’Agata, Robert Atwan, Joy Castro, Patricia Foster, Phillip Lopate, & Jill Talbot.  Chock-full. 

V. I’m late to the party on reading Sean Bishop’s essay on poetry submissions today over at VQR, but it’s worth reading and considering… “Submitting a poem is no longer like shooting a single, silver bullet you cast by hand, in a cathedral’s furnace, while the wolves howled outside. Instead, it’s more like launching a hundred ill-formed pellets from a double-barrel gun, knowing one or two of them will hit the mark.”

VI. Now, go submit some nonfiction (or poetry) over at the beautiful Salt Hill Journal.

VII.  Why does writing matter? Wendy Willis gives us a reason in her beautifully heartbreaking and inspiring post on the death of Egyptian poet (& human) Shaimaa el-Sabbagh. She prods us forward, “We must stand for that which creates in the face of so much that destroys. We must stand on the side of mending what is broken. We must stand with Shaimaa.”

VIII. Follow that up with Lia Purpura’s “Probability” in the New Yorker.  (It’s a condensed moment, so I won’t spoil it by quoting it.  Just go read the whole thing now.)

IX.  Speaking of probability, check out Huang Kui’s paintings & multimedia displays from his “My Projection is Focusing” exhibition put together after he survived a three-story fall.  (Featured above: Probability-Enlarge a Appurtenance From the Body, 2010.)  

X. “I seem to be compelled to strip away the veil; it is my art to both expose and hide, never revealing how much of either.” Fleda Brown, well, just good God, go read “Home Bodily Repair Kit” at Brevity.  The veil stripped, the body revealed.

XI.  While you are there at Brevity, read the always intelligent (and very kind) Nancy Geyer’s craft essay on taking cues from your subject (or writing like a cow).  “…subjects have their own ideas about craft. They may refuse to move quickly, or allow us the time-honored techniques of storytelling, or permit us the full use of our voices. They’re willing to try readers’ patience or risk keeping us at a distance. They don’t necessarily insist on novel techniques, but they do insist on suitable ones, which can result in something novel, after all. Subjects like these demand that writers and readers alike think outside our literary boxes so that, through language, we might discover new ways to know them.”

XII.  Before, during, after you write, find yourself lost in a library.  If my insistence that you read Ander Monson’s Letter to a Future Lover didn’t convince you, the book review at NPR will. “Treating a library as a crematorium for yesterday’s knowledge does no one any good. Instead let’s keep it live … so that we might think the world a library and by so thinking, and our feeling, and our stealing, and our starting something new here, make it so.” Find your writing in the library, where ever the library can be found.

XIII.  “The librarian nods, asks no questions…” BJ Hollars (a literary crush of mine) goes to the library to find Fannie.  Read about it in his essay “Finding Fannie” at Volume One.

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