Commentaries

Imagined cartographies: Madeleine Campbell in Saint Lucia

Brain Coral photographed by Madeleine Campbell
Brain Coral photographed by Madeleine Campbell

Some waves originate deep in space; others arrive with the wind, cresting the ocean's surface. At low tide, a traveler might walk a long stretch of shore, shifting boundary between land and sea. She might lift spiraled shell to ear, listen for a sound that began in a neighboring galaxy, named after an explorer intent on sailing the globe.

She might hear history.

It might sound like this:

in the salt chuckle of rocks

with their sea pools, there was the sound

like a rumour without any echo

Antin's 'Notes for an Ultimate Prosody' Revisited

[NOTE, FOR THE RECORD. Originally published in George Quasha’s magazine Stony Brook (number one, December 1968), Antin’s essay on prosody was accompanied by the following note from the editor: “Mr. Antin wrote these Notes as a paper, originally, which was not amended for publication. I persuaded him to publish it, though he is not happy with the presentation, because I believe it raises crucial questions. It is coherent if not thorough, and it may succeed in bringing about some relevant discussion, hopefully in future issues of STONY BROOK.

Patricia Spears Jones on Close Listening

photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Patricia Spears Jones talks with Charles Bernstein about her new selected poems, the influence of the blues and the pentecostal church (and sonnets) on her poems, her conversation with popular songs,  her sense of communities and ideal readers, the performance of her work, her "contrarian" broadsides on politics and culture, and her persistent commitment to beauty.

MP3 (38:18): MP3

Borges off Pound

In December of 1921, a 22-year-old Jorge Luis Borges published “Ultraísmo” in the Argentine journal Nosotros. The editors wrote that his short article was the initial entry in a series of studies about the avant-gardes,[1] recognizing perhaps that the moment of the ultraísta movement had already passed (a few months later, the key journal Ultra ceased publication). While the avant-garde principles of ultraísmo would continue to inform the work of many poets both Spanish and Latin American, by 1921 the movement qua movement was drawing still. But for the literary establishment, understanding ultraísmo was just beginning, and thus Borges’s essay was an attempt to assert the new literary ethic through accounting, a manifesto in reverse.

Translation, free & wild: Catherine Theis on Catullus, the newlyloved, & other dislocations

Catherine Theis. Photo by Jessica Savitz.
Catherine Theis. Photo by Jessica Savitz.

Catherine Theis's The Fraud of Good Sleep begins the delicious logbook of its dreaming with the ancients who "loved in a way that allowed / them to relay their delicate campaigns / across opposite seas," a surety of guidance, if not arrival. No matter. As Hélène Cixous counsels in The School of Dreams, "This is what writing is, starting off. . . . This does not mean one will get there. Writing is not arriving; most of the time it's not arriving."

Most mornings I set out from my house to run — albeit not with any speed — urban sidewalks that lead to trafficked boulevards that merge with a California State Park trail, switch-backing up a hill of some height.