13 ways of looking at a bureaucrat XIII: the long waits of winter

XIII It was evening all afternoon. It was snowing And it was going to snow. The blackbird sat In the cedar-limbs. Wallace Stevens, 13 ways of looking at a blackbird Our working lives are long, and yet our culture's celebration of youth is so strong: the energetic, the passionate, the believers and the ambitious displace... Continue Reading →


13 ways of looking at a bureaucrat XII: the thaw, the flight

XII The river is moving. The blackbird must be flying. Wallace Stevens, 13 ways of looking at a blackbird I dwell in a land where the rivers are always moving, except when they dry out, when they would be called dry creek beds, not rivers. To imagine a place where a river is not moving... Continue Reading →

13 ways of looking at a bureaucrat

"Psychoanalysts don't usually write essays; they tend to write lectures or papers or chapters, or what are called, perhaps optimistically, contributions." Adam Phillips "Coda: up to a point" in One Way or Another: New and Selected Essays If Phillips' invitation, masked in the form of a provocation, is true of psychoanalysis, how much more true... Continue Reading →

The book of my soul

Image source:¬†Gitksan woman Shaman and Chief, Kispiox, British Columbia, 1909, by George Thornton Emmons Collection no. 131 (University of Washington Libraries) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Why do we write poetry? In a world of inexhaustible archives, where we are overwhelmed with voices, why would we ply our own into the unending and infinite conversation?... Continue Reading →

The nobility of poetry and a normal life

Yesterday I visited the State Library of Victoria and there I read from the Collected Poetry and Prose of Wallace Stevens. Wallace Stevens is perhaps my most loved American poet, and certainly an influence on me - his diction, his mix of abstraction with the most remarkable particulars of the beautiful world, his romance of... Continue Reading →

Wallace Stevens’ mind of winter

Wallace Stevens is a poet for lovers of beauty among ruins. For those of us in the second half of life he is of unique importance: diligent insurance executive, sometimes benighted husband, and much deferred, superbly deferred poet. He first read his poetry aloud to an audience, with some awkwardness in 1938 at the age... Continue Reading →

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