caitri: (Screw Subtext)
"Child of Europe" by Czeslaw Milosz, 1946

We, whose lungs fill with the sweetness of day.
Who in May admire trees flowering
Are better than those who perished.

We, who taste of exotic dishes,
And enjoy fully the delights of love,
Are better than those who were buried.

We, from the fiery furnaces, from behind barbed wires
On which the winds of endless autumns howled,
We, who remember battles where the wounded air roared in
paroxysms of pain.
We, saved by our own cunning and knowledge.

By sending others to the more exposed positions
Urging them loudly to fight on
Ourselves withdrawing in certainty of the cause lost.

Having the choice of our own death and that of a friend
We chose his, coldly thinking: Let it be done quickly.

We sealed gas chamber doors, stole bread
Knowing the next day would be harder to bear than the day before.

As befits human beings, we explored good and evil.
Our malignant wisdom has no like on this planet.

Accept it as proven that we are better than they,
The gullible, hot-blooded weaklings, careless with their lives.

Treasure your legacy of skills, child of Europe.
Inheritor of Gothic cathedrals, of baroque churches.
Of synagogues filled with the wailing of a wronged people.
Successor of Descartes, Spinoza, inheritor of the word 'honor',
Posthumous child of Leonidas
Treasure the skills acquired in the hour of terror.

You have a clever mind which sees instantly
The good and bad of any situation.
You have an elegant, skeptical mind which enjoys pleasures
Quite unknown to primitive races.

Guided by this mind you cannot fail to see
The soundness of the advice we give you:
Let the sweetness of day fill your lungs
For this we have strict but wise rules.

There can be no question of force triumphant
We live in the age of victorious justice.

Do not mention force, or you will be accused
Of upholding fallen doctrines in secret.

He who has power, has it by historical logic.
Respectfully bow to that logic.

Let your lips, proposing a hypothesis
Not know about the hand faking the experiment.

Let your hand, faking the experiment
Not know about the lips proposing a hypothesis.

Learn to predict a fire with unerring precision
Then burn the house down to fulfill the prediction.

Grow your tree of falsehood from a single grain of truth.
Do not follow those who lie in contempt of reality.

Let your lie be even more logical than the truth itself
So the weary travelers may find repose in the lie.

After the Day of the Lie gather in select circles
Shaking with laughter when our real deeds are mentioned.

Dispensing flattery called: perspicacious thinking.
Dispensing flattery called: a great talent.

We, the last who can still draw joy from cynicism.
We, whose cunning is not unlike despair.

A new, humorless generation is now arising
It takes in deadly earnest all we received with laughter.

Let your words speak not through their meanings
But through them against whom they are used.

Fashion your weapon from ambiguous words.
Consign clear words to lexical limbo.

Judge no words before the clerks have checked
In their card index by whom they were spoken.

The voice of passion is better than the voice of reason.
The passionless cannot change history.

Love no country: countries soon disappear
Love no city: cities are soon rubble.

Throw away keepsakes, or from your desk
A choking, poisonous fume will exude.

Do not love people: people soon perish.
Or they are wronged and call for your help.

Do not gaze into the pools of the past.
Their corroded surface will mirror
A face different from the one you expected.

He who invokes history is always secure.
The dead will not rise to witness against him.

You can accuse them of any deeds you like.
Their reply will always be silence.

Their empty faces swim out of the deep dark.
You can fill them with any feature desired.

Proud of dominion over people long vanished,
Change the past into your own, better likeness.

The laughter born of the love of truth
Is now the laughter of the enemies of the people.

Gone is the age of satire. We no longer need mock.
The sensible monarch with false courtly phrases.

Stern as befits the servants of a cause,
We will permit ourselves sycophantic humor.

Tight-lipped, guided by reasons only
Cautiously let us step into the era of the unchained fire.

Czeslaw Milosz
caitri: (Default)
Bookmarking because it's beautiful, and apparently this is the only freaking poem you can get in English from this author because it was shown on a kdrama. >_<

“The Physics of Love”
by Kim In-yook

The size of a mass is not proportional to its volume
That little girl as small as a violet
That little girl that flutters like a flower petal
Pulls me with a mass greater than the Earth
In a moment, I
Like Newton’s apple
Mercilessly rolled and fell on her
With a thud, with a thud thud
My heart
From the sky to the ground
Continued to swing dizzyingly like a pendulum
It was first love
caitri: (Cait Yatta!)
Revenge by e.c.c.:

Since you mention it, I think I will start that race war.
I could’ve swung either way? But now I’m definitely spending
the next 4 years converting your daughters to lesbianism;
I’m gonna eat all your guns. Swallow them lock stock and barrel
and spit bullet casings onto the dinner table;
I’ll give birth to an army of mixed-race babies.
With fathers from every continent and genders to outnumber the stars,
my legion of multiracial babies will be intersectional as fuck
and your swastikas will not be enough to save you,
because real talk, you didn’t stop the future from coming.
You just delayed our coronation.
We have the same deviant haircuts we had yesterday;
we are still getting gay-married like nobody’s business
because it’s still nobody’s business;
there’s a Muslim kid in Kansas who has already written the schematic
for the robot that will steal your job in manufacturing,
and that robot? Will also be gay, so get used to it:
we didn’t manifest the mountain by speaking its name,
the buildings here are not on your side just because
you make them spray-painted accomplices.
These walls do not have genders and they all think you suck.
Even the earth found common ground with us in the way
you bootstrap across us both,
oh yeah: there will be signs, and rainbow-colored drum circles,
and folks arguing ideology until even I want to punch them
but I won’t, because they’re my family,
in that blood-of-the-covenant sense.
If you’ve never loved someone like that
you cannot outwaltz us, we have all the good dancers anyway.
I’ll confess I don’t know if I’m alive right now;
I haven’t heard my heart beat in days,
I keep holding my breath for the moment the plane goes down
and I have to save enough oxygen to get my friends through.
But I finally found the argument against suicide and it’s us.
We’re the effigies that haunt America’s nights harder
the longer they spend burning us,
we are scaring the shit out of people by spreading,
by refusing to die: what are we but a fire?
We know everything we do is so the kids after us
will be able to follow something towards safety;
what can I call us but lighthouse,
of course I’m terrified. Of course I’m a shroud.
And of course it’s not fair but rest assured,
anxious America, you brought your fists to a glitter fight.
This is a taco truck rally and all you have is cole slaw.
You cannot deport our minds; we won’t
hold funerals for our potential. We have always been
what makes America great.

ETA: LJ is being LJ and not showing the text breaks properly, so go to the link to read it properly and in rhythm. But this is so beautiful I want it on a poster, you guys.
caitri: (Gamora)
I'm reading an interesting, older book I've never heard of until recently by Jane Marcus called Art and Anger, which is basically feminist criticism about women's reading and criticisms of women's reading. Anyway in an essay towards the end she reproduces this fascinating poem by Catherine des Roches (c. 1555-84), from an unpublished translation by Tilde Sankovitch. Art and Anger was published in 1988, and I haven't done much to track down whether the translation of the poem has since been published. Anyway, it's an interesting meditation:

To my Spindle

My spindle and my care, I promise you and swear
To love you forever, and never to exchange
Sweet domestic honor for a thing wild and strange,
Which inconstant, wanders, and tends its foolish snare.

With you at my side, dear, I feel much more secure
Than with paper and ink arranged all around me,
For, if I needed defending, there you would be,
To rebuff any danger, to help me endure.

But, spindle, my dearest, I do not believe
That, much as I love you, I will come to grief
If I do not quite let that good practice dwindle

Of writing sometimes, if I give you fair share,
If I write of your goodness, my friend and my care,
And hold in my hand both my pen and my spindle.
caitri: (Cait pony)
H/T the lovely [ profile] browngirl who posted this in her lj. Needless to say, this poem isn't in any of my women's writing anthologies and now I am SO BITTER.

"15th century Welsh poet Gwerful Mechain is one of the country’s most celebrated female poets, primarily for her poem Cywydd y Cedor (”Ode to Pubic Hair”). In it, she criticizes men for praising the other parts of a woman’s body, but not the genitalia. She declares herself “of great noble stock,” urges poets to “let songs about the quim circulate,” and ends by saying “lovely bush, God save it.” "

Every foolish drunken poet,
boorish vanity without ceasing,
(never may I warrant it,
I of great noble stock,)
has always declaimed fruitless praise
in song of the girls of the lands
all day long, certain gift,
most incompletely, by God the Father:
praising the hair, gown of fine love,
and every such living girl,
and lower down praising merrily
the brows above the eyes;
praising also, lovely shape,
the smoothness of the soft breasts,
and the beauty’s arms, bright drape,
she deserved honour, and the girl’s hands.
Then with his finest wizardry
before night he did sing,
he pays homage to God’s greatness,
fruitless eulogy with his tongue:
leaving the middle without praise
and the place where children are conceived,
and the warm quim, clear excellence,
tender and fat, bright fervent broken circle,
where I loved, in perfect health,
the quim below the smock.
You are a body of boundless strength,
a faultless court of fat’s plumage.
I declare, the quim is fair,
circle of broad-edged lips,
it is a valley longer than a spoon or a hand,
a ditch to hold a penis two hands long;
cunt there by the swelling arse,
song’s table with its double in red.
And the bright saints, men of the church,
when they get the chance, perfect gift,
don’t fail, highest blessing,
by Beuno, to give it a good feel.
For this reason, thorough rebuke,
all you proud poets,
let songs to the quim circulate
without fail to gain reward.
Sultan of an ode, it is silk,
little seam, curtain on a fine bright cunt,
flaps in a place of greeting,
the sour grove, it is full of love,
very proud forest, faultless gift,
tender frieze, fur of a fine pair of testicles,
a girl’s thick grove, circle of precious greeting,
lovely bush, God save it.
caitri: (books)
Megan Beech's spoken word ode:

See also, Mary Beard, Troll Slayer.

Appearing on television made Beard famous in the U.K., but what has made her even more famous has been the suggestion, put forward by certain male observers, that she is too old or unprepossessing to be on television at all. A. A. Gill, the television critic for the Sunday Times, greeted her Pompeii series by remarking, “Beard coos over corpses’ teeth without apparently noticing she is wearing them. . . . From behind she is 16; from the front, 60. The hair is a disaster, the outfit an embarrassment.” Gill dismissed “Meet the Romans” by declaring that Beard “should be kept away from cameras altogether.”

After a “Question Time” appearance in the Midlands, in which Beard argued that recent immigrants were not a burden on the local economy, she was repeatedly vilified on an Internet message board. One user described her as “a vile, spiteful excuse for a woman, who eats too much cabbage and has cheese straws for teeth.” (British comments sections can seem to be haunted by the ghost of Roald Dahl.) Less creatively, another commenter posted a doctored photograph in which an image of a woman’s genitals was superimposed over Beard’s face.

There is an injunction among users of social media that one should not pay attention to online detractors. There is even a Twitter account, @AvoidComments, which issues monitory statements: “You wouldn’t listen to someone named Bonerman26 in real life. Don’t read the comments.” Beard argues, instead, that comments sections expose attitudes that have long remained concealed in places like locker rooms and bars. Bonerman26 exists; his vileness should be contended with. In this spirit, she posted the image of herself-as-genitalia on her blog—it was surely the first time that the T.L.S. site might have needed a Not Safe for Work warning—and suggested possible responses for her supporters to take, such as flooding the offending message board with Latin poetry. The story made international news, and the message board soon shut down. ...

In another highly publicized incident, Beard retweeted a message that she had received from a twenty-year-old university student: “You filthy old slut. I bet your vagina is disgusting.” One of Beard’s followers offered to inform the student’s mother of his online behavior; meanwhile, he apologized. Beard’s object is not simply to embarrass offenders; it is to educate women. Before social media, she argues, it was possible for young women like those she teaches at Cambridge to enjoy the benefits of feminist advances without even being aware of the battles fought on their behalf, and to imagine that such attitudes are a thing of the past. Beard says, “Most of my students would have denied, I think, that there was still a major current of misogyny in Western culture.”
caitri: (Gamora)

Fantastic Breasts and Where to Find Them by Brenna Twohy.

Slam poetry that starts off about Harry Potter fanfic erotica, slides into talking about mainstream porn and rape culture.
caitri: (books)
There are a hundred students in this round of workshops; there are four workshops of poetry, three of fiction, two of creative nonfiction, and then the lone "literary/book arts hybrid" class I'm taking. My class has 7 people in it, while the others have ~15 per. Consequently, over the last day and a half, I've explained what book arts are to about 40 people.

I'm tired.


Here are some pictures of what we did just today:


This is a sheet of paper marbled using the Japanese suminagashi method, where you take a small paper circle, drop a few drops of dye on top, and then blow or move it around the water with a skewer; the dye only adheres to the surface of the water, and so you can place your paper directly on top. You don't have to treat the paper beforehand, or spend a few hours doing other set-up and prep as you must with Turkish marbling. Consequently, even though the dyes are less vivid, I am quite the fan!


We started off with two exercises. The first was "Twenty First Lines"--potential first lines to twenty works which we submitted before the workshop started. The instructors printed and bound these to create small prompt books. The "Word Dance" was an activity where we created cards using phrases from our writing samples which we shared and redistributed as a group, making poems with the new (randomized) material. Mine reads:

Excuse me
sound might grow a steady stream
if such was ever to be

maybe someone had someone
again and again
subject to the will

Shoes by the door nose each other like fish
tingling cheek
promise of London Devil
garb thin as a sapling.

[I'm only proud of the first six lines which sounds like an actual narrative to me. It's pretty clear I had no idea what to do with the other four.]


Another project we took on this morning was creating a commonplace book, bound accordion style and creating a collage on the cover. We were given envelopes of various interesting scraps, and this is what I put together. The ribbon ties in the back to hold the volume shut; it has an envelope glued in the back to hold various project materials. I don't typically care for accordion bindings, but I'm pleased with how this one came out at least visually.


I've written a story for tomorrow from a prompt; I'm happyish with the text but not the accompanying image, which I'm not going to share, because no, it looks juvenile. (OTOH maybe tomorrow I'll go to class and it will magically seem better, but I think not.) Here it is:


If you stay with me... )


Last night I wrote a poem, and it at least I an pleased with:

sent at midnight
and at 8am

read and responded

demonstrate only

that I am
the signifier
and you
the signified.


Tonight we listened to readings by each of the student fellows--effective "apprentices" to the instructors this term. Like the workshops, they were a mixture of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. I suppose it was a classical "writing seminar moment": all of them white, at least approaching middle class if not actively upper class. One was a gay man. They all had, I guess you could say strong voices, but in that workshoppy way they were indistinguishable too, talking of permissible things like love and loss and extra-marital affairs. One older gentleman had a story from the pov of a recovering alcoholic struggling to connect with his son; the gay writer mentioned a bathhouse. This was the non-normative material. This morning my instructors had a brief spiel about "safe space" and to be aware and accepting of "raw" material, but I am rather underwhelmed? Does that sound awful? And you can count the POCs on one hand; I've spoken to half of them already through happenstance.

It has all made me feel rather anxious. But this may sound like I'm disappointed in the whole thing--I'm not, exactly, and I've never been surrounded by so many creative types before, so that's interesting. So, we'll see what happens. I have my personal conference with my instructors tomorrow, and we're going to discuss the chapter I sent them of my printerfic--the one with all of the triggery stuff. So. We'll see what they make of that.


Dec. 29th, 2013 01:30 pm
caitri: (Cait Yatta!)
So yesterday I got a text from Todd who apologized for not having sent an xmas present because he hadn't finished it and because he actually wanted my help with it.... Which is, we're making a game. We're making an Early Modern Poets Battlecard game!!!!!

Lemme back up. Okay, so years ago, Todd made a game for his kids called Warriors Battlecards, based off the Warriors series which is his eldest's favorite books. He made expansion sets for the other kids, like Creature Battles; the general idea is you have cards with an image of a character/beast/what have you and then a list of their stats. We used to play at lunch or on breaks because a ten minute silly game could go quite a ways towards recovering from a ridiculous meeting and whatnot. So anyway, we're going to make an iteration of Early Modern Poets, because relevant to our interests.

I spent a while yesterday building lists of possible cards and stat categories and just mailed it off. Here's my notes, in case anyone cares.

Bwahahaha List )

Possibly my favorite part of this whole thing is how my response to this was "OMFG THIS IS THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER AND I LOVE YOUR BRAIN" and Todd was like, "I'm glad you liked this idea, because everyone I mentioned it to looked at me like I was an absolute NUT." In short, my friends are the best friends. <3
caitri: (Cait Yatta!)
I've been meaning to share these, and I keep forgetting.

*My TWC article with all my thinkie thoughts on Steve/Tony fandom was published last month: The Creation and Evolution of  the Avengers and Captain America/Iron Man Fandom.

*Todd and I did an article on the Martin exhibit for College and Research Libraries News that went online this week: How We Brought 3,000 People to the Library....With the Help of Mr. George R. R. Martin.


I've been working on my poetry-writing skills, such as they are, after having made the acquaintance of a lovely young English poet named Maria who I decided to adopt/kidnap for the better part of June. (Look, I was in Texas, I have an inarguable personality....mostly I just drag people along and they get Stockholm Syndromed into liking me, ask anyone.) I have been failing at writing fiction for the last few weeks and putting together poems is about as best as I can do. Anyhow, here's one I wrote tonight that I am pleased with:

falls like diamonds
--small bright drops
on the sidewalk.
Summer heat splits
cloud-dark sky
with bolts of lightning
whose fall to earth
is as silent
as God's humor.


Anyway, that's me. I'm living in a hotel in Colorado for the next month, to the bemusement of our kitties. Except for next week, when I'm going to Rare Book School.

I am adjusting to things slowly. Right now I just feel constantly exhausted. Stupid high altitude. Hopefully I'll be a more useful correspondent soon.


caitri: (Default)

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