The floating life within

In the 1980s or 1990s I wrote down on an index card, this observation from Robert Musil An essay is not the provisional  or incidental expression of a conviction that might on a more favorable occasion be elevated to the status of truth or that might just as easily be recognized as error ... an... Continue Reading →

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The political ghosts of literature

I have been reading some fragments of Maurice Blanchot - The Madness of the Day, The Writing of Disaster, some of the essays assembled under the title of The Gaze of Orpheus - and trying to make sense of the discrepancies in his story, and how it has encountered my own. Certain phrases from Blanchot,... Continue Reading →

Poem(s): To my errant mind

The following poem, "To my errant mind," was originally published in my collection, After the Pills, which you may purchase here or here. To my errant mind Your dreams grow like a twisted gum. Years were lost When the market crippled you. This dusty room is the archive Of your failed state. Now you forget little things –... Continue Reading →

Poem: Monday morning

Monday morning Three strikes on the snooze button Then unwilling, still dark within, I step out to stretch my stiff back and you tell me - time to wake up. This day I might return to bed; Other days I will trudge to work. But the self is the task today: Verse, rest, reflection, dreaming... Continue Reading →

Poem: The unwritten book

This morning I have been writing poetry, and so for a post today let me share one of my poems from my to-be-published Burning Archive collection.   The unwritten book Your secret will die with me, never-ending tome, without interrogation of your catechism. Together we conspire for a life of dull ease, Turning away from... Continue Reading →

A postscript on Utopia

Coincidentally - a word that tricks chance into being fate - I was reading this week Maria Popova's account of Wisława Szymborska's celebration of not knowing. Szymborska said, in her acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize, that it is from the humility of not knowing that inspiration comes - in any profession, not merely writing: "Inspiration... Continue Reading →

Poem: Losing my direction

This morning I have posted an old post that was caught in the wordpress software, and begged to be released, on the borderlands of madness. And a fast follow-up - this new poem on losing my direction. Losing my direction The mornings drift away now. Spikes in my hair no more. Seventeen seconds reminds me... Continue Reading →

Renovating the Burning Archive

I have spent the morning renovating the Burning Archive. A new theme changes the look and will feature more posts on the landing page so that you can sample more of my writing. I have also added several pages that gather together the main categories of my writing. My poetry collections features links to the... Continue Reading →

Craft, voice and the fire

"We all know poetry isn’t a craft that you can just turn on and off. It has to strike fire somewhere, and truth, maybe unpleasant truth about yourself, may be the thing that does that." Robert Lowell, from a letter quoted in Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character (2017) by... Continue Reading →

Poem: Snow falls on the suburban plain

Here is a poem that I will before too long include in a collection titled Dr Cogito's Rebellion. Snow falls on the suburban plain. I shelter, wrapped in a library of wool. The prophecies of last winter Stand unproven before me. Was the doom of governments so sure? Did the blood-dimm’d tide swell and fall... Continue Reading →

On the history and meaning of the eight hour day

The story I told in this article still has resonance for me. It was a story about how, even in the apparently material conditions that defined work and industrial conflict, the meaning of events were inseparable from the striving for recognition and the webs of significance that we, culture-making beings, weave through the time of our lives.

Cantos from a cage

What thou lovest well remains,                                                   the rest is dross What thou lov’st well shall not be reft from thee What thou lov’st well is thy true heritage Whose world, or mine or theirs                                             or is it of none? First came the seen, then thus the palpable... Continue Reading →

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