EppsNet Archive: Literature

Places, Loved Ones

 

No, I have never found The place where I could say This is my proper ground, Here I shall stay; Nor met that special one Who has an instant claim On everything I own Down to my name; To find such seems to prove You want no choice in where To build, or whom to love; You ask them to bear You off irrevocably, So that it’s not your fault Should the town turn dreary, The girl a dolt. Yet, having missed them, you’re Bound, none the less, to act As if what you settled for Mashed you, in fact; And wiser to keep away From thinking you still might trace Uncalled-for to this day Your person, your place. — Philip Larkin, “Places, Loved Ones” Read more →

Molly Brodak

 

View this post on Instagram A post shared by @poetryisnotaluxury Read more →

It Wasn’t Much Good for Reading, But . . .

 

I recently read Omon Ra, a Russian novel that I’d heard good things about. I didn’t really like it at all. This afternoon, I saw some kind of a large black pincher bug on the living room carpet. My copy of Omon Ra was lying nearby and I picked it up and smashed the bug with it. So I can’t say that the book was a complete waste of money . . . Read more →

Next, Please

 

Always too eager for the future, we Pick up bad habits of expectancy. Something is always approaching; every day Till then we say, Watching from a bluff the tiny, clear Sparkling armada of promises draw near. How slow they are! And how much time they waste, Refusing to make haste! Yet still they leave us holding wretched stalks Of disappointment, for, though nothing balks Each big approach, leaning with brasswork prinked, Each rope distinct, Flagged, and the figurehead wit golden tits Arching our way, it never anchors; it’s No sooner present than it turns to past. Right to the last We think each one will heave to and unload All good into our lives, all we are owed For waiting so devoutly and so long. But we are wrong: Only one ship is seeking us, a black- Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back A huge and birdless silence. In her… Read more →

Going

 

There is an evening coming in Across the fields, one never seen before, That lights no lamps. Silken it seems at a distance, yet When it is drawn up over the knees and breast It brings no comfort. Where has the tree gone, that locked Earth to the sky? What is under my hands, That I cannot feel? What loads my hands down? — Philip Larkin, “Going” Read more →

A Moment of Love

 

Everything was worn out about people: they complained about debts; they were involved in gossip; they had five-storied houses built; they traded in large objects; they bought ships, mines, vineyards; at bridge parties they lamented worriedly and falsely about being too busy; everybody talked about his work, whereas, in fact, nobody did anything; people played bridge and for whole nights groaned for a moment of love. — Miroslav Krleža, On the Edge of Reason Read more →

The Ballad of Joking Jesus

 

Goodbye goodbye write down all I said Tell Tom Dick and Harry I rose from the dead What’s bred in the bone cannot fail me to fly and all of it’s breezy goodbye now goodbye — James Joyce Read more →

God Hates Children?

 

“God hates children.” For a moment Viking Man is too lost in his reverie to have heard, but then he turns to the other man. “Can’t say I ever thought of it that way, vicar.” “God is always killing children in the Bible, or threatening to,” says Vikar. “He kills His own child.” Viking Man nods slowly. “That’s a hell of an observation,” he says. — Steve Erickson, Zeroville Read more →

I Think I Could Turn and Live With Animals

 

I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d, I stand and look at them long and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition, They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth. — Walt Whitman Read more →

2021: The Year in Books

 

These are the books I read in 2021, roughly in the order listed. The ratings are mine. They don’t represent a consensus of opinion. Books of the Year: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (fiction), Zeroville by Steve Erickson (contemporary fiction) and Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects by Bertrand Russell (non-fiction). My Library at LibraryThing Read more →

Joan Didion, 1934-2021

 

I was discovering that not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and every procrastination, every word, all of it. — Joan Didion, “Goodbye to All That” RIP Joan Didion Read more →

Hollywood 1969

 

“You’ve got people your age just coming into the business who will be running Paramount in five years, along with Warners and Columbia and Fox and MGM — all of which will be run by companies that have nothing to do with pictures — who have never heard of Minnelli or Preminger, or just might be erudite enough to think of Liza when you say her father’s name. Then you’ve got people like me who have been around long enough not to have much romance about any of it anymore and are just trying to find some cover because we have no idea what’s going on. Biker pictures are winning prizes at Cannes and pictures about cowboy hustlers in New York getting sucked off in the cheap seats are winning Oscars, so the execs upstairs who are old enough to be my grandfather — which means we’re talking Dawn of… Read more →

The family is like the forest: if you are outside it is dense; if you are inside you see that each tree has its own position. — Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing

Débrouillard

 

Débrouillard is what every plongeur wants to be called. A débrouillard is a man who, even when he is told to do the impossible, will se débrouiller — get it done somehow. One of the kitchen plongeurs at the Hôtel X, a German, was well known as a débrouillard. One night an English lord came to the hotel, and the waiters were in despair, for the lord had asked for peaches, and there were none in stock; it was late at night, and the shops would be shut. “Leave it to me,” said the German. He went out, and in ten minutes he was back with four peaches. He had gone into a neighbouring restaurant and stolen them. That is what is meant by a débrouillard. The English lord paid for the peaches at twenty francs each. —George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London Read more →

Sad, Tumultuous Middle-Age Years

 

Divorce, abandonment, the unacceptable and the unattainable, ennui filled with action, sad. tumultuous middle-age years shaken by crashings, uprootings, coups, desperate renewals. — Elizabeth Hardwick, Sleepless Nights Read more →

That Is the Way to Get Attention

 

Divorces and separation — that is the way to get attention. Everyone examines his own state and some say: Strange, they were much happier than we are. There are streets in the East 90’s where youngish couples on the wave of success buy town houses and do them over at great expense, uncovering old wood, taking off the stoop so that drunks cannot loiter, making a whole floor for the children to be quiet on. The strain and the cost and the house, a mausoleum with both names on it waiting for the dates to be filled in, drives the couple to separation. The streets are called Death Row. — Elizabeth Hardwick, Sleepless Nights Read more →

Why People Are So Messed Up

 

When I was a kid, I had a cousin Kathy, who liked to eat meals one item at a time. For example, if she had what I had last night, which was salmon, spinach and brown rice, she’d eat all of the salmon, then all of the spinach, then all of the rice. Not necessarily in that order but you get the idea. Some adults in our family would get mad that she ate meals that way and would yell at her to stop doing it. Like, what difference could it possibly make to anyone in what order she eats portions of food? Mind your own goddamn business. Bad parenting is probably my hottest of hot buttons. Or as Philip Larkin used to say: They fuck you up, your mum and dad.     They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had     And add… Read more →

EppsNet Book Reviews: All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

 

This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war. Mission accomplished! Remarque was a German author born Eric Paul Remark, changed his last name to a French spelling and adopted his mother’s middle name, Maria, as his own. It says on the cover “The GREATEST WAR NOVEL of ALL TIME.” I can’t think of a better one. The Red Badge of Courage is really good. The Emigrants is remarkable but I’d have to put it in a different category, a post-war novel. Regeneration is very good. Catch-22 and From Here to Eternity I couldn’t even get all the way through either one of… Read more →

The Doors of Perception

 

We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. — Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception Read more →

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