Commentaries - July 2016

After Stephen Ratcliffe

photo by Stephen Ratcliffe

Horizon line shimmers
At edge of light
Umbra calls echo 

Refraction as rupture

In investigating the significance and stake in refractive poetics, especially for artists who come from the margins, it is necessary first to ask what is meant specifically by the term refraction: How am I defining refractive poetries? What is it that holds my attention here?

Fous Littéraires: Some examples from a non-cannon- No.1

Alexis-Vincent-Charles Berbiguier de Terre-Neuve du Thym, known as Berbiguier (1764/76?–1851)

Berbiguier and imps

Before beginning a more in depth look at some of the most widely discussed fous, let us take a moment to reflect upon a few of the more beloved, if less well-analysed examples. (I remind the reader that these commentaries are intended for an English-speaking audience, whilst most of the geniuses discussed write in French. Generally, I have thus chosen to describe the work, rather than quote it., and then, mainly in English. French citations are given only when it is thought that these will help rather than hinder those not literate in French.)

Shared dendrochronologies: Andrew Schelling on poetry, translation, & the aliveness of wor(l)ds

Giant sequoia cross-section, Arizona State Museum | University of Arizona
Giant sequoia cross-section, Arizona State Museum | University of Arizona

 A few summers ago, I took a walk one evening to find a California redwood 5,600 miles from home. Sequoia sempervirens, the sign said, Latin for ever green or everlasting, which is to say such trees are both non-deciduous and among the oldest living things on Earth. Located in the Jardin des Prébendes, a few blocks from the French city center of Tours, this particular sequoia was a mere 150 years old, but had I seen it towering somewhere north along my own Pacific coast, it couldn't have been more wondrous.

Habemus PM; or, irritation after the EU referendum

Naomi Schor:

Viewed as congenitally (rather than culturally) particularistic, the woman artist is doubly condemned to produce inferior works of art: because of her close association with nature, she cannot but replicate it. (11)

Wouldn't her time be better spent replicating human life? is the suggestion implicit in the ideology Schor is describing here.1