Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Recent favorite books (Part 2)


1. Leaving the Atocha Station, Ben Lerner (Coffee House Press)
 "During this period [of rain and boredom] all like periods of my life were called forth to form a continuum, or at least a constellation, and so, far from forming the bland connective tissue between more eventful times, those times themselves became mere ligaments. Not the little lyric miracles and luminous branching injuries, but the other thing, whatever it was, was life, and was falsified by any way of talking or writing or thinking that emphasized sharply localized occurrences in time. But this was true only for the duration of one of these seemingly durationless periods; figure and ground could be reversed, and when one was in the midst of some new intensity, kiss or concussion, one was suddenly composed exclusively of such moments, burning always with this hard, gemlike flame."

2. The Art of the Commonplace, Wendell Berry (Counterpoint)
"Occasionally one stumbles into a coincidence that, like an unexpected alignment of windows, momentarily cancels out the sense of historical whereabouts, giving with an overwhelming immediacy an awareness of the reality of the past.
"The possibility of this awareness is always immanent in old homesites. It may suddenly bear in upon one at the sight of old orchard trees standing in the dooryard of a house now filled with baled hay. It came to me when I looked out the attic window of a disintegrating log house and saw a far view of the cleared ridges with wooded hollows in between, and nothing in sight to reveal the date. Who was I, leaning to the window? When?"

3. Art as Experience, John Dewey (Perigee)
"The man who poked the sticks of burning wood would say he did it to make the fire burn better; but he is none the less fascinated by the colorful drama of change enacted before his eyes and imaginatively partakes in it. He does not remain a cold spectator."

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