December 06, 2013
Night in a Small Village
The Revolving Moon: 25 Prints from China
As we mourn the poet, do we not mourn the loss of what he had in his keeping: a way of living that served us for aeons?
by Sven Birkerts
I had not thought until recently that these two occasions — my visiting Peter’s campus to talk about the transformations of the reading culture, and his later notifying me of Seamus’s death — belonged together in an essay, but I see now that they do. Not easily or obviously, not in tongue-and-groove fashion, but more broadly, thematically, with all the allowances of essayistic elasticity. If I pose for myself the two big questions that I am forever asking, that were, in effect, the basis of my talk — namely, what is the transformation that is taking place? And what is it that I fear the loss of? — then the connection starts to come clear.
It is dangerous, I know, to have a person stand for something, be ‘representative’ in the sense that the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson had it in 1850. That one individual could in any way ‘embody’ the spirit of a historical period seems archaic, as does the notion that a period could have a spirit. Our cultural mantra is plurality, complex polyvalence, and the intensifying deluge of information ensures more of the same. Character itself is a contested concept.
Yet when Heaney died in August, in the days and weeks that followed, there was a sense, throughout the literary world, but in the larger culture as well, that a singular and — I will risk the word — representative greatness had been taken from our midst. ...
Not only does our digital living condition us profoundly, and by the stealthiest increments — so that with every new upgrade, every app, we are not only further empowered, but also more deeply reliant — but it also creates in us an estrangement, a sense of void. We gain in so many ways, pulling the info-world around us like a wire-woven cowl, creating planes of lateral linkage, giving and receiving messages — most of them tokens of ersatz connection — through a switchboard of disseminated impulses. We take the old limited one-self and refract it in every direction, and all around us people are doing the same, confirming us in our impulse. How easy it is to move in that direction — enabled flow — and how hard to move even slightly back the other way. If it’s so easy, it must be right.
But those gains are not without their sacrifices — though, as I observed, it gets harder and harder to see what those might be. Still, we do mark them, sometimes obliquely, by proxy. With, for example, the force of our sadness for a great man who has died, a poet with the rarest access to how things were, to the time and space of the old dispensation. T S Eliot’s ‘still point of the turning world’. We mourn the poet, but are we not also mourning the loss of what he had in his keeping? A language that mapped a way of living that served us for aeons, that we are now exchanging for other ways. We don’t regret our progress, not for the most part. But there is a tug. And in contemplating a poet such as Heaney, we understand what it is that still exerts that pull.
b. December 6, 1898
Shane Rhodes On Beauty
Shane Rhodes, X: Poems & Anti-Poems
All of this is to say that it is easy to become enamored with the production of beautiful language and the ceremony of its performance. Governments and large corporations are particularly good at this – we call it propaganda but I think that makes it sound too specialized as it is a strategy used in many subtle ways that might not meet that jingoist threshold. In art, I think it is imperative to understand how our ability to make beautiful language can also divert attention away from the ugliness in the world around us. Throughout history and in the present, we can see art used again and again as diversionary tactic. I’m not saying that every poem has to be a realist examination of social ills, but good art, complex art, seems knowledgeable about how it is consumed and about the society in which it takes place and that this must, in some way, be part of the artistic production and product itself.
So often we are led on by ideas of beauty and deterred or stopped by ideas of ugliness and disgust – but it is important to think of how these terms can be politically motivated and used. Colonization has very real psychological manifestations in any settler society; one of these manifestations is an unwillingness in the settler to look realistically at the injustices of our histories and current actions in the name of settlement. In Canada, who wants to read the treaties? Who wants to read the Indian Act? Who wants to look at such blatant racism? All of these texts are ugly; they are ugly because they rub against the beautiful myths we have created of our just and peaceful society.
reviewed by rob mclennan
Shane Rhodes - X: Poems & Anti-Poems (an interview)
You Are Here
Though not endorsed by the treaty commissioner, I would like to
acknowledge this book was written in the said country
While this book was written, contested territory was tested
I would like to acknowledge the Secwepemc, the Cree and the
Algonquin nations, upon whose territories this book was written
The land was “shovel ready”
I would like to acknowledge I did not ask for permission, that I
felt too uncomfortable to ask and didn’t know how to, that I don’t
know if asking is the answer because I barely know the questions
I would, however, like my acknowledgement to be acknowledged
Warning: this book is not about faraway lands, Greek and Roman
philosophers, Japanese haiku masters, and Elizabethan poets will
not be discussed
This book is about desire
the desire to look elsewhere
This book is about where I live, a place still settling, still making
the land—law by law, arrest by arrest, jail by jail—its own
As stipulated in subparagraph 12(1)(a)(iv), paragraph 12(1)(b) or
subsection 12(2) or under subparagraph 12(1)(a)(iii) pursuant to
an order made under subsection 109(2), a dispute cannot be made
under this section of my book
Warning: this book of verse demands more of verse, this book
This book uses words as heard in annual reports and business prospectus,
the smooth cadence of policy platforms and parliamentary
committees, the shouts of protesters and riot police
Failing to Levitate in the Studio
The Way We Live Now: Surveillance
The Occupied Times
The Deep State: An Emerging Concept in Comparative Politics
Patrick H. O'Neil
Over the the past two decades there has emerged a new term in the discussion of authoritarian and illiberal regimes, one known as the deep state. In spite of its increasing use, the utility of this concept is limited by its lack of clarity, often appearing to mean little more than tenacious military rule. This paper is an attempt to delineate the concept of the deep state and assess its value in understanding certain aspects of authoritarian and illiberal politics. I define the deep state as a set of coercive institutions, actors and relationships beyond those formally charged with defense, intelligence and policing. Driven politically by a logic of tutelage and exercising a high degree of autonomy, the deep state justifies itself through the need to defend the nation against purported existential threats. I begin the paper by expanding on the term, discussing which elements are central to the concept of the deep state and which are not. Second, I relate the deep state to a number of other concepts in comparative politics. Third, I briefly consider these elements to address the contexts in which a deep state may emerge. Fourth, I look at cases of deep states in Turkey, Pakistan, and Iran. Finally, I conclude the paper by discussing political transition and the deep state, and how the latter can prove a particular obstacle to democratization.
Human Nature/Life Death/Knows Doesn't Know
b. December 6, 1941
Self-translation / Self-destruction
... And what good company I was now in—I thought at once of one of my all-time favorites, Samuel Beckett, and how he had continued to write in both English and French, before self-translating his work one way or the other, as required. It was a dream come true. I got down to work…
And what a pain it turned out to be. ...
... I happened upon an old interview with none other than Beckett himself, in which he rued that his desire for control had led to him taking a hand in the German versions of his writings, and how translating his own work into French or into English was a kind of torture, given that “the whole business of creation has already been done, and going through it all a second time over is extremely dull.” Here was the key to the puzzle. While translating someone else can be a fascinating form of “creation,” which entails grasping a text as closely as possible, then “making” another language “say the same thing,” the entire creative process has already been gone through in great depth when writing a given text for the first time. Recreating it in another language is thus not only tedious, but strangely “artificial,” and the result quite often abortive, while someone else could well have breathed new life into the piece and made it live again happily in its new linguistic world.
Years later, I still write in English and French. (Why one, then the other? Sorry, that’s quite another story.) And I still translate. But never, if it can be helped, myself.
December 05, 2013
portrait of Mother_______________________
b. December 5, 1891
Fear of the Inexplicable
Rainer Maria Rilke
b. December 4, 1875
But fear of the inexplicable has not alone impoverished
the existence of the individual; the relationship between
one human being and another has also been cramped by it,
as though it had been lifted out of the riverbed of
endless possibilities and set down in a fallow spot on the
bank, to which nothing happens. For it is not inertia alone
that is responsible for human relationships repeating
themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and
unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new,unforeseeable
experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope.
But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes
nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation
to another as something alive and will himself draw exhaustively
from his own existence. For if we think of this existence of
the individual as a larger or smaller room, it appears evident
that most people learn to know only a corner of their room, a
place by the window, a strip of floor on which they walk up and
down. Thus they have a certain security. And yet that dangerous
insecurity is so much more human which drives the prisoners in
Poe's stories to feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons
and not be strangers to the unspeakable terror of their abode.
We, however, are not prisoners. No traps or snares are set about
us, and there is nothing which should intimidate or worry us.
We are set down in life as in the element to which we best
correspond, and over and above this we have through thousands of
years of accommodation become so like this life, that when we
hold still we are, through a happy mimicry,scarcely to be
distinguished from all that surrounds us. We have no reason to
mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors,
they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abuses belong to us;
are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if only we
arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us
that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now
still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust
and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those
ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into
princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses
who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps
everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless
that wants help from us.
Walter Rosenblum interview
When I began in photography, Strand was my mentor and friend. I knew very little about printing, while Strand was a great master. One day, while I was helping him at the warehouse where he stored his photographs, he came across some old platinum prints. As I looked over his shoulder, he calmly proceeded to tear some of those prints into small pieces. Finally, I got up enough nerve to ask why. “Not good enough” was his reply.
It was a wonderful lesson for a young photographer. Tearing up a print over which you have labored intensively because it is not good enough means you are in control. When I go into the darkroom, I am establishing a rapport with a piece of film that must become my friend. That negative has many secrets that I need to explore. It is a lifeline between what I saw and what I can produce as a finished print.
Making waves: Urban technology and the co–production of place
Over the past several years, as cities in the United States have faced increasing fiscal pressures, there has been a reinvigorated interest in the promise of smart cities, intelligent cities, digital cities, open source cities and media cities, which advocate the use of digital technologies to make cities more efficient, productive, innovative and attractive. However, the appropriation and use of urban technologies have transformed the aesthetic, symbolic and lived experience of cities in important ways, which have not been well described or theorized. Based on theories from communications, science and technology studies as well as more specialized fields such as urban informatics, this article attempts to understand the ways in which urban technologies are appropriated and used to co–produce place relying on empirical examples from art and design, social science, and information and computer science. Finally, it illustrates the ways in which place is constituted at the intersection of socio–technical practices as dynamic, relational and interdependent.
The Way We Live Now: Data Economy
The Occupied Times
Corporations in Our Heads
Theatre for Living's new show investigates how our psyches have been colonized by corporations from Lululemon to Enbridge and begins the process of transforming our relationship to that messaging. We caught up with artistic director David Diamond on tour in Langley. David Diamond speaks with Redeye host Lorraine Chisholm.
Study for 'In the Hold'
b. December 5, 1890
People have already had to rethink so many concepts of motion; and they will also gradually come to realize that what we call fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us. It is only because so many people have not absorbed and transformed their fates while they were living in them that they have not realized what was emerging from them; it was so alien to them that, in their confusion and fear, they thought it must have entered them at the very moment they became aware of it, for they swore they had never before found anything like that inside them. just as people for a long time had a wrong idea about the sun's motion, they are even now wrong about the motion of what is to come. The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space.
How could it not be difficult for us?
Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet - #8
December 03, 2013
some free offerings at Open Humanities Press
Architecture in the Anthropocene:
Encounters Among Design, Deep Time, Science and Philosophy
edited by Etienne Turpin
New Materialism: Interviews & Cartographies
Rick Dolphijn and Iris van der Tuin
The Democracy of Objects
Levi R. Bryant
Fan Ho - Hong Kong Yesterday
Fan Ho, Hong Kong Master Street Photographer #1
Humanism for a globalised world
Ten years after his death, Edward Said’s work remains a guide for how to hold universal principles in increasingly diverse societies
Priyamvada Gopal –
While he was a fierce critic of empire, Said was profoundly interested in what could be done with a concept like humanism, laden as it is with the baggage of colonial civilisational missions and Eurocentrism, the worldview that assesses the rest of the world through the lens of European and white superiority. Perhaps surprisingly, at least for those who (despite his vocal protestations) read him as the originator of a postmodern and postcolonial approach to culture, Said describes himself as a humanist, insisting that “attacking the abuses of something is not the same thing as dismissing or entirely destroying that thing.” He himself remained unaffected by the antihumanism that characterised academic postmodernism with its “dismissive attitudes” to ideas such as enlightenment and emancipation. What then is the humanism that Said wishes to not have thrown out with the bathwater of discredited colonial or racist projects? For him, “the core of humanism is the secular notion that the historical world is made by men and women, and not by God and that it can be understood rationally ... Or to put it differently, we can really only know what we make.”
Said’s sense of the secular – he had long championed a style of thinking and scholarship that he termed “secular criticism” – is much more substantial than an insistence on compulsory atheism or a formal separation of church and state. Secularism for him has much more to do with being able to step outside the paradigms or ideologies to which one is habituated and then challenging not just others but oneself to question received ideas. At the heart of the practice of humanist secularism is a refusal to “denigrate, demonise, and dehumanise” or to “consolidate and affirm one tradition over another.” But Said was emphatically no relativist and had little time even for the more acceptable academic versions of relativism that underlay postmodern shibboleths like “indeterminacy”. The point he is making here is a nuanced one – that cultures and traditions are not, ultimately, neatly sealed off from each other and, just as none has a copyright on humanist values or ideas, none can be regarded as constitutively backward.
Interview with André Schiffrin
Gwenael Pouliquen, Jacques Testard
There are people – like François Maspero in France – who did a lot more than we did. Sadly, now, publishing is almost entirely a matter of profitability, meaning that if you want to publish something that is immediately profitable, it’s very rare that it will turn out to be predicated on strong ideas, or dissident ideas.
That’s a big problem. It has considerably reduced the amount of good books published, even though now there are small independent publishing houses who are publishing whatever they want to.
My German editor, who wrote a fantastic biography of Kafka, says that without a free publishing industry, there can be no democracy. And that is particularly the case in France, where most of the newspapers belong to people who manufacture weapons, and books are just about the only place where you can express ideas that are not mainstream.
Reading about the death of publishing giant André Schiffrin , the longtime editor in chief at Pantheon Books who also founded the New Press, led me to reflect on the importance of books in my life. Without independent-minded publishers like Schiffrin, who was willing to lose money in order to publish books he deemed important, would I have become an academic? It’s a serious question.
Two of the books Schiffrin published at Pantheon were crucial to my early intellectual development: The Chomsky Reader (1987) and Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman’s Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988). These books, and Noam Chomsky in general, taught me how to read texts through a critical lens, and how to recognize the biases of the politically powerful in even the most seemingly of objective expressions. Even though I have since come to different understandings of power and knowledge—even though, for example, I see the merits in Foucault, whom Chomsky famously debated in 1971 —Chomsky was my gateway drug to a hermeneutics of suspicion.
My guess is that Chomsky started many people down similar paths.
Slaves to Contradictions: 13 Myths that Sustained Slavery
Wilson Ray Huhn
The New Nullification Movement
People have a fundamental need to think of themselves as “good people.” To achieve this we tell each other stories – we create myths – about ourselves and our society. These myths may be true or they may be false. The more discordant a myth is with reality, the more difficult it is to convince people to embrace it. In such cases to sustain the illusion of truth it may be necessary to develop an entire mythology – an integrated web of mutually supporting stories.
This paper explores the system of myths that sustained the institution of slavery in the antebellum United States.
Some states are reviving disenfranchisement schemes that date back to the antebellum South.
The long shadow of slavery
The Invention of Photography
W. S. Di Piero
In the fearless 1850s, mad-hatters forged
images of dolls, doilies, sewers,
in off-the-shoulder nighties...
Gentleman Brits claimed their Sphinx
and Hindoo temples. We had our Civil War,
rail cuts and silver mines,
darkroom vans racked with plates,
jerky, mule feed, cameras
the Sioux called shadow catchers.
Pull the lens cover,
the ground glass blinks a century
to a two-minute wonderment,
when every decent family craved
its Polaroid and waited to see what
it would make of us, how inhale
blood matter and lick it into life.
Yesterday’s World: A Stefan Zweig Festshrift
Upon seeing Jonathan Franzen’s recent The Kraus Project(Farrar Giroux Straus)it occurred to me that perhaps the wrong fin-de siecle Viennese Jewish intellectual was being rescued from the aforementioned dustbin of history.
December 02, 2013
b. December 2, 1859
interviewed by Pedro Reyes
Erasmus of Rotterdam claimed there were three types of people: those who lived in a dream world, those who lived in reality, and those who were able to turn one world into the other. The Venezuelan artist Javier Téllez belongs in this third category of people for whom the boundary between reality and unreality, reason and madness, is not only shadowy but also worth delving into. For the Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing such constructs do nothing but create artificial divisions whose function is to ensure the preservation of the status quo. If, in a similar vein, Téllez’s projects build a bridge between these two worlds, opening the possibility of creative collaborations with the so-called mentally ill, he avoids the pieties associated with art therapy by warning us that he seeks “not a therapeutic practice to cure the insane but rather one to cure the sane of their lucidity.”
Téllez and I once played telephone with tin cans perched on trees at the Utopia Station site for the 50th Venice Biennale, but, for the following interview, we discussed his increasingly depurated film projects—Oedipus Marshal (2006), Letter on the Blind for the Use of Those Who See (2007), and Caligari and the Sleepwalker (2008)—over the less cumbersome and more contemporary mediums of the telephone, email, and Skype.
b. December 2, 1891
Walmart and Downton Abbey:
rampant inequality and detachment from reality
I'm not exactly sure what it is about the hit British TV series, Downton Abbey, that has enthralled so many of us. The scenery is great, Lady Mary's wardrobe is just fabulous, but there are plot holes so huge one could drive Lady Edith's car through them. I suspect the fascination it provokes has something to do with nostalgia – a hankering for a simpler time, when everyone knew their place and where the classes, though separate and unequal, were at least able to be polite to one other. Whatever it is that we find so charming about the series, however, we should try to keep in mind that the rampant inequality it celebrates is not something we should be hankering after.
The Bridge at Courbevoie
Only in Things quoted in
W. S. Di Piero
Some days, who can stare at swathes of sky,
leafage and bad-complected whale-gray streets,
tailpipes and smokestacks orating sepia exhaust,
or the smaller enthusiasms of pistil and mailbox key,
and not weep for the world's darks on lights, lights on darks,
how its half-tones stay unchanged in their changings,
or how turning wheels and wind-trash and revolving doors
weave us into wakefulness or dump us into distraction?
This constant stream of qualia we feel in our stomachs.
The big-leafed plant lifts its wings to greet the planet's chemistry,
the sun arrives on rooftops like a gentle stranger, rain rushes us
love to love, stop to stop, these veins of leaf, hand,
storm and stream, as if in pursuit of us and what we are becoming.
Conversation: W. S. Di Piero, Winner of the 2012 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize
W. S. Di Piero at the Poetry Foundation
and Poetry International
The End of a Jetty, Honfleur
Words without Borders December 2013: Oulipo
Words with Borders: Writing from the Oulipo
Daniel Levin Becker
As the prevailing image used by book reviewers to praise literary translations is that of transparency—limpid, pellucid, crystalline—it seems clear, so to speak, how ready we are to think of language as a window onto meaning. Whatever difficulties a translator may have encountered in carrying that meaning over into a new syntactic, lexical, and cultural idiom, we tend to expect his or her fingerprints to be wiped away by the time the text arrives before us, and for the resulting view to be more or less the same as the view enjoyed by the native reader. For better and occasionally for worse, we tend to be correct.
The Oulipo—ouvroir de littérature potentielle, or workshop for potential literature, a Paris-based literary collective dedicated to exploring how literature might arise from structures, rules, and constraints borrowed from linguistics or mathematics or parlor games—presents an uncommonly acute challenge to that expectation. To write an Oulipian text is both to draw a picture and to solve a puzzle, and more often than not these two missions blur together to the point where it becomes impossible to discern where the language ends and the meaning, such as it is, begins.
So, as you might imagine, things get doubly complex when a second language comes into play. Each language is a system unto itself, with its own rules and cheat codes, its own alliances and enmities and tunnels and trapdoors—and since exploiting all of these is the very essence of Oulipian methodology, since language is not only the raw material of an Oulipian experiment but also its demonstrandum, we might ask what, in this context, translational transparency even means. What happens when, to bedevil McLuhan, the window is the view?
E-Literary and the Social
It often seems that autopoiesis and self-reference play a crucial role in the basic understanding of e-literature, which the established scholarship (e.g. e-literary criticism) considers first and foremost in terms of its new media specificity. This practice is distinctly contextualized and embedded in contemporary society and its paradigm shifts. In the present time, defined by capitalism, which does not leave anything outside of its influence, there is also no point in leaving the e-literary text outside, i.e. without any references to "the social" and to theories that deal with new social and cultural paradigms. The challenge of broader social theory application in this field is therefore the current topic of interest in this essay. To emphasize the specificity of an e-literary piece (as a performance, event, procedure, program, ride, textual instrument) directs us to its materiality, which is a very historical, changeable category. The requirements for full autonomy of this field as separated from the social (the claim of modernist aesthetics), have passed. Today we recognize that software is also a cultural and social tool (Galloway, 2012). In this essay, we are going to discuss some key theoretical notions on the issue of "the social" at the present time and their application in the field of e-literature._______________________
b. December 1, 1884
November 29, 2013
Postscript: Saul Leiter (1923-2013)
Draft 112: Verge
Rachel Blau DuPlessis
Sizes, wires, assizes in the site, other boundaries on this border. Maps and lines are drawn over bodies. Where did “history” put this place? Why did it not “stay there”? What about “them”? Should they live here, or are they basically foreign? What are the facts about myself? What is my where? It’s true that once there was an ending. It seemed as if this were what I had wanted. Why did it then open? I hardly can remember, but then it’s suddenly vivid, though even my own stories have veered over time. Another time pulses through the stifled civic membrane.
Decisions, decisions: the fate of virtual literature
Now that we really do have this always-on connectivity, you will indeed be available every waking hour: you will update your status, check your inbox, post pics and be available for chatting, texting, a quick email and a message or two, just to make sure no one is offended by your unreachability, since – from experience – a week’s worth of not tweeting or facebooking can make someone think that something serious has happened, or that you don’t even exist anymore.
Exhausting, I know. It’s no wonder some of us might feel overwhelmed, unable to choose what to do with our new-found freedom to not just consume information but to produce more and more of it. They call it decision fatigue: the loss of willpower after making too many choices in an environment that presents us with too many of them. Willpower is a muscle, and it can get very tired in this day and age.
What social media and its drive towards constantly sharing what we are reading, seeing, thinking about, feeling, eating and drinking has done is to make us all producers of content: all of us are now storytellers, and the story is ourselves.
Except that the story is happening in realtime, before we or anyone else has had time to evaluate its particulars, to reflect on the experience as a whole, because everything has to be ‘liveblogged’ immediately in snippets of text and image which are reducing the representation of identity down to forms which cannot capture life’s transcendent nuances and are only good at recording or manipulating its immanent surfaces.
This situation, I sometimes feel, is detrimental to the presence of other kinds of storytelling formats on the internet, such as literary journals, and indeed literary culture as a whole.
the teller of tales
Photo by: Lauri Kettunen
Photographs of Liv Villages
from Death and the Dervish
(translated by Lazar Pascanovic)
I felt as if there wasn’t a single thought in me, as if all my senses were numb from a stroke. But, oddly enough, I was aware of everything, more sensitive and susceptible to everything that was surrounding me. The ear could catch the tinkling sounds of the night, clear and purified, as if they were echoing, bouncing off the glass. I could discern every single sound and yet they all flowed into the joint humming of water, birds, light wind, distant lost voices, and the quiet buzzing of the night that lazily bends under the strikes of the invisible wings. And none of this bothered me nor upset me, I wanted there to be more such voices, hums, buzzing, fluttering, more everything, outside me. Maybe I was hearing so clearly in order not to listen to myself.
It was probably the only time in my life that voices and hums, light and shapes, emerged as what they were, as a sound, a murmur, a smell, a shape, a sign and declaration of things outside myself, for I was listening and watching, separated, uninvolved, without either sorrow or mirth, neither ruining nor improving. They were living alone, without my partaking, unchanged by my feelings. And so independent was I, true, unassimilated into my thought about them, like a foreign, unrecognized thing, something that goes on, that happens past everything, vain and futile. I switched out, and I was disconnected, separated from everything around me, and the world was filled with ghosts, alive but indifferent. And I was free and impenetrable.
When I hear the phrase “democratic psychiatry” I immediately think of the rhetoric of “service user involvement” and the ideology of empowerment. These aren’t the directions psychiatry should take simply because this is the direction psychiatry is already taking and which it is already perfectly able to assimilate. I am opposed to this rhetoric and ideology not because I think they will be the ruin of psychiatry as it exists, but because I am convinced that they will not.
The sleep of reason produces monsters
1797 - 1798
The Sleep Of Reason
for Clayton Eshleman
Words imprinted on a sign
white against a surface
the sleep of reason
that produces monsters.
He is sitting on a chair
his head slumped
resting on his arms
or on the marble table,
pencil set aside,
his night coat open
All things that fly at night
fly past him.
Wings that brush an ear,
an ear concealed,
a memory beginning
in the house of sleep.
His is a world where owls
live in palm trees,
where a shadow in the sky
is like a magpie,
white & black are colors
only in the mind,
the cat you didn’t murder
springs to life,
a whistle whirling in a cup,
gone & foregone,
a chasm bright with eyes.
There is a cave in Spain,
a fecal underworld,
where bats are swarming
the blackness ending in a wall
his hands rub up against,
a blind man in a painted world,
amok & monstrous
banging on a rock.
[From "50 Caprichos after Goya" in Concealments & Caprichos, Black Widow Press, 2010]