Of the many memorials and eulogies of the past several days, this one seems exceptionally powerful in its use of material, tangible objects, as well as the invocation of providence as the backdrop to ethical, or even noble activity.
What can be avoided,
Whose end is purpos’d by the mighty gods?
Before Nelson Mandela was president of South Africa, he was a prisoner for 27 years, most of them served on the infamous Robben Island. During that incarceration, he was one of 34 prisoners who shared a copy of The Alexander Text of the Complete Works of Shakespeare.
Read more on Verso in “Leaving an Indelible Mark.” The post includes a link to audio from a David Schalkwyk lecture on the Robben Island Shakespeare, delivered earlier this year.
caption: Nelson Mandela signed his name along the side of a passage from Julius Caesar. Robben Island Shakespeare. Photo by Julie Ainsworth. Courtesy of Sonny Venkatrathnam / Folger Shakespeare Library.
10:01 am • 7 December 2013 • 68 notes
The Politics of Friendship: “Oh my friends
There is no friend.” Jacques Derrida intends
To elaborate, yet for the past four years
These lines perplexed, oft to the point of tears.
Let’s fill the room, fulfill, exceed the ends
We read of: Oh, my democratic friends.
9:56 pm • 1 December 2013
It’s a limerick because the dumb ego’s a joke
That needs to resort to verse form to invoke
It’s own ill-formed affection
Through rhyming abjection
And return with a punchline to have the last strophe.
9:30 pm • 1 December 2013
Thing No. 3 - The counter-sublime
Baobab trees have a distinctive form. They’re characterized by wide, often very tall trunks. They grow at a distance from other baobab trees—it’s difficult to imagine a forest of closely growing trees. Because of these features, and their status as one of the oldest species of tree still living, photographs of the Baobab tree almost always aim for the sublime. Such representation use the baobab as part of a larger composition that thematizes primitive wilderness, the permanence of the desert, or the power of uncultivated nature.
In this photograph, a yellow truck has not yet driven off the frame. The sky, though burdened and overcast, isn’t exceptionally powerful. There’s a lot of other vegetation alongside the lone tree in the foreground. The baobab is one element among many in a composition that acknowledges the how compelling the tree can be, but also that it’s a living thing, part of the same ecology as the photographer and the street as grey as the sky.
Old man Baobab, standing in a sisal field.
This photograph was taken by Niti Bhan in October 2011 on the road to Kilifi, Coast Province, Kenya.
Its one of my favourites.
11:37 am • 15 November 2013 • 35 notes
Thing No. 2: The idea-holding thing.
These two buildings look like each other. The facades shared by the Quad and Sandringham House are mostly made of brick. There are other accents, but red blocks comprise most of its surface. These direct the eye upwards, to the roof with its towers and many chimneys, which point still further up to the sky. Both are old, and both host inhabitants only part of the year.
But perhaps more so than Sandringham House, when the Quad has residents, it is filled with ideas. Even when everyone inside is asleep, the ideas hover in the mind of the house, and perhaps only when the house is empty is the mind quiet.
The top photo is Sandringham House, which is owned by the British Royal Family. The bottom photo is where I live. I feel like I could so easily convince someone that these are two photos of the same building from different angles.
11:02 am • 9 November 2013 • 2 notes
Thing No. 1
The first thing is tumblr.
Tumblr is like a blog, and it’s like a social network. Tumblr encourages swift sharing, and for sharing images in particular, its a powerful platform.
There are other things to share on Tumblr too—quotes, links, chats, audio, video, and even, as here, simple old text. The box Tumblr provides for creating text offers minimal formatting options. Write simply, write quickly. What style will exist ought to emerge from that encouraged speed.
There are two primary ways to be social on tumblr: favoriting and reblogging. Favoriting is a direct message to the author of a post. No one else knows about a “favorite,” the click of the little heart in the bottom right corner of the frame, a click that fills the heart with red, like blood, or like a blush, take your pick.
Reblogging is a public message, both to the author of the post and to the possible readerly community. It says that the post at hand worth spreading. It’s less personal than favoriting, but it’s also more powerful—it aligns two different users’ output for at least one expression.
11:46 am • 8 November 2013
Conquering Android’s World of Themes
First metaphor: a mobile device is like a house.
An app cuts out the technical gobbledygook and presents smartphone users with a clear path to their own identity.
8:49 am • 8 November 2013
CoNoPoNo: Compose No Poetry November
but in things)
3:54 pm • 7 November 2013
Sing: Cold. It’s autumn. Cold ahead
for several months. More Cold
till Spring. It’s false, but still, Cold seems
to cling to everything.
9:33 am • 4 November 2013
Sing: a poem doesn’t need
To rhyme. The pleasant sound
Of matching ends is not
The be-all end of everything.
12:13 pm • 3 November 2013 • 1 note
Sing: pigeons sitting in a line
Atop a building, on
A wire and a windowsill,
Seeing, seeing everything.
9:51 am • 3 November 2013 • 1 note
Sing: one. Then add it to the sum
of all that came before:
One hundred cars. Then dread
the one that’s everything.
10:40 am • 30 October 2013
While searching through the neat boughs of each tree
For apples, you picked out some lovely scent,
Sweet like a perfume store. I disagree.
All I smelled was the pungence of ferment.
It wasn’t then nor is it my intent
To recall to you the scattered seeded rot
In the dappled tree-shade as we went
Back and forth the earthy orchard plot.
You said these fruit invoked some paradise.
We climbed that knoll. I sauntered in descent.
I tried to hold my tongue, that tasteless vice
That can’t quite tell when heaven’s immanent.
Though silence seems at times a labor of atonement,
To work in heaven’s orchard calls for no enrollment.
9:55 am • 27 October 2013 • 2 notes
We have become a society that totes
Hot liquids with us through these days, like hopes.
A haiku from the article: Not Just a Hot Cup Anymore
10:45 am • 22 October 2013 • 128 notes
These are sights that perplex and delight beyond speech
They’re weird, and, perhaps, they’re profound.
Eggs in the morning, in the plaza on the beach
Yolks sunny side up, on the ground.
Jeremy Parnell The Big Chook :: Henk Hofstra The Art Eggcident
9:07 am • 21 October 2013 • 41 notes