:: Essays archive ( 2000-2005, click for articles pre-2006)

Poetic Practices published 19/11/2015

There are so many things one could do other than write poems. Take a long walk. Examine a beautiful tree for disease. Pick up a rock; throw it into a lake or at a passing car. Pick a flower; tape it to that rock and drop it from the edge of a canyon. Do this over and over until a small part of the canyon is filled. For writing poems often feels as though it amounts to as much: arranging a pile of stones for someone else to haul elsewhere.

By Mark Yakich

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Rapture, Religion and Madness Part Two: Lou Andreas-Salomé on Nietzsche published 16/11/2015

In an article in Neurosurgery, September 2007, titled ‘The madness of Dionysus: a neurosurgical perspective on Friedrich Nietzsche,’ the authors Owen, Schaller and Binder suggest that Nietzsche may have been suffering from “a large, slow growing, right-sided cranial base lesion, such as a medial sphenoid wing meningioma. Aspects of his presentation seem to directly contradict the diagnosis of syphilis, which has been the standard explanation of Nietzsche’s madness.”

In the final instalment of his two part series examining Nietzsche’s philosophical project, D.A. Barry analyses Heidegger’s lectures on Nietzsche and Salomé’s ideas on religion and psychology.

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Concerning the Nobility of my Dog published 14/11/2015

I did not want to say anything, being already on the verge of tears and aware that my tendency to cry unexpectedly was not my most appealing aspect, but I thought, even if to say so is perverse, that the estimation in which my wife held her deceased grandmother as teacher, confidant, and source of unqualified affection, had had, in my own life, its only proximate equivalent in my dog. 

By Adrian Nathan West.

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My Visit to the Gay Sex Club published 09/11/2015

‘And notice the coverings we’ve installed. That’s a heavy duty, synthetic material we can easily clean. If we had sheets or duvets, they would be ruined in an hour.’ Karl stood back proudly, admiring the room. ‘Yes, these heavy duty covers have proven an absolute godsend,’ he said. ‘You can imagine what it’s like with two men going at it sometimes.’

Writer Peter Papathanasiou recounts his first experience in a Gay Sex Club.

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Shadow in the Night: Dylan at the Royal Albert Hall published 08/11/2015

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Dylan strings his songs in this interrelationship of corrosive anticipations, desire and taboo entwined, so that a luminal obscenity is not an accidental consequence but the irrevocable requirement of life escaping its dull restraint. The pleasure of losing control or of controlling the deliberate violation of a taboo are the twisted foundations of Dylan’s ecstasies. For these are voices in the grip of ethereal scandalous spirituality, voices of minds caught up with their own versions of fraudulence and lust, witnesses of what lies far out of range, distorted and off balanced players where loss is a winner in the long run, where everything has a cost and all debts must be paid. And will be. And are being.

Richard Marshall on what he heard in Bob Dylan‘s recent London concerts.

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Pasternak at Marburg Station published

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Yet, poetry is the total despair of words, of the word. And it is immediately evident why a poet cannot be a philosopher. Pain has no patience. And patience wounds too deeply. Poetry is the homeopathic solution. Seek to heal the wound by wounding it, by concentrating it. Paradoxically, this gives respite. One rushes straight to the core.

Steve Light on Pasternak, poetry and philosophy.

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All the way from Gare du Nord to the Beverly Laurel Cafe published 31/10/2015

It is hard to live in a universe ruled by contingency and accident. It is soothing to speak of fate and destiny. Affective ambivalence, indecision, turmoil, emotional tumult, all take on a more bearable aspect if they are seen as subject to forces external to us, subject to external resolution–inevitably, inescapably. “What will be will be….” So too with misfortune. If an event which we would so much the more have wanted to forgo could just as well not have been, its occurrence, its having-been, cuts into us all the deeper, all the more terribly. So we speak of fate, of destiny.

By Steve Light.

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Projections on a Wall: A Hauntology published 29/10/2015

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The Berlin Wall was always plural. These walls from the past become all the more complicated and even more multiplied once we begin to memorialise and commemorate them. Perhaps the pronouncement by East German leader Walter Ulbricht in the middle of June 1961—just two months before Operation Rose, otherwise known as Barbed-Wire Sunday—should have been read more like those from the Delphic Oracle. Ulbricht insisted, “No one intends to build a wall.” That was because one wall would have never been enough.

By Frank Garrett.

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dreamscape, nightmare, city: the weirded urbanisms of German expressionist film published 28/10/2015

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German Expressionism had an ambivalent relationship with the city and the built environment. Expressionism rejected naturalistic representation in favour of the expressive, almost dream-like imagination of the subconscious, the repressed. Expressionist cinema’s ambivalent relationship with the city produced some of the most enduring film art ever made.

Owen Vince on Expressionist cinematic urbanism.

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Sexual Stealing published 14/10/2015

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Sexual Stealing is poetic in that its form reflects its subject; it searches for a way to write the voices that are buried in full view, and subverts available genres to talk about something widely felt and intuited but not discussed. This writing assumes that writing is a form of listening, rather than expression.

Wendy Walker on the Gothic, textuality, gender, sexuality, and poetics.

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