Sunday, July 30, 2017

Thought for the Day

Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live
without and know we cannot live within.
~ James Baldwin

Quoted from James Baldwin, "Letter from a Region of my Mind", The Fire Next Time (Vintage, 1992)

Search this blog for other quotes from or posts about James Baldwin (1924-1987).

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Split (Poem)


      The moment we choose to love
         we begin to move . . . towards freedom. . . .
           ~ bell hooks

It begins with two
dividing, redividimg
half of mine, more
than yours, all that
bordered space
whose lines once
drawn no more
can hold us
each in our place


The epigraph is from American writer and critic bell hook's essay "Love as the Practice of Freedom" in Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations (1994).

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Before moving day (Poem)

Before moving day

we separate, recount
the division of boxes
four more times.
I give back two. Only
after unlocking the door
to another empty space
do I remember
the forecast called for rain.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Thought for the Day

Love is not a feeling. It's an ability.
~ "Dan in Real Life" (2007)

Quoted in Emma Seppala's "Recapturing the Awesome Meaning and Power of 'Love'," The Washington Post, June 17, 2017. The article is an interview with Sharon Salzbert, co-founder of Insight Meditation Society, Barre, Massachusetts, and author, most recently, of Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection (Flatiron Books, June 6, 2017).

Dan in Real Life is a 2007 film from Touchstone Pictures and directed by Peter Hedges. Watch the trailer. Read a review.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

New Artist Watch Feature at Escape Into Life

Greg Dunn, Self Reflected (detail), basal ganglia and brainstem, 2014-2016
22K gilded microetching, 96" x 130"
Photo Credit: Gregg Dunn and Brian Edwards

I am delighted to feature in today's Artist Watch at Escape Into Life the work of artist and neuroscientist Greg Dunn, Ph.D., of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Now a full-time artist, Greg was a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania when he began drawing on his knowledge of neuroscience, physics, and biology to investigate the artistic process through imagery, concept, and technique. His artistic experiments, on which he collaborated with artist and applied physicist Dr. Brian Edwards, led to invention of the revolutionary technique called reflective microetching, which allows dynamic control of imagery and color on reflective gold surfaces. More about the technique and its application is included in the Artist Watch feature.

In addition to eight images from Greg's and Brian's Self Reflected project, today's Artist Watch column includes Greg's Artist Statement, A Note on Process, Definitions, and a brief biography.

Here's one of several videos from the Website for the Self Reflected project:

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Writing in Chinese (Poem)

Empty Chair of Liu Xiaobo
2010 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

Writing in Chinese

      Opposition is not the same as undermining.
          ~ Liu Xiaobo

The tanks heave into Tiananmen
Square, and only after come

the explosions of yellow umbrellas—
the revolution of color that blinds

then binds the poet left behind
the Great Firewall. He who writes

gets one day for every blunt stroke
except the last 6 characters: 4,024

hanzi minus 4,018 days (11 years)—
a long sentence, even in Chinese.

In Qincheng he speaks to the ghosts,
replays how he'll answer to students

and workers who have yet to pen
names on their own Charter 08. Too-

late-moved to Shenyang hospital,
he who so disturbed the dreams of Xi

Jinping falls silent, becomes ashes.
From their nest, bird after bird is flying.

2017 © Maureen E. Doallas

Liu Xiaobo (December 28, 1955 - July 13, 2017), Chinese Human Rights Activist; Writer, Poet, and Literary Critic; Noble Peace Prize Winner (2010)

Charter 08, Petition for Democracy in China, December 10, 2008, 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Bird imagery features prominently in the poems of Liu Xia, the writer-activist's wife.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Thought for the Day

If we are lucky, the end of the sentence is
where we might begin.
~ Ocean Vuong

Quoted from "A Letter to My Mother That She Will Never Read", The New Yorker, May 13, 2017 

Ocean Vuong, Poet and Essayist

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mosul Remains (Poem)

Mosul Remains

     You know we got to sit around at home
        and watch this thing begin . . . .
           ~ Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention
           ("More Trouble Every Day")

Not yet the phoenix rising,
the oldest sector in the old city

of Mosul stinks of blood and
memory and smoke. Men blare

calls of cell-phoned triumphs:
fingers threaded into backpacks.

Liberation lingers through the
dancing in streets exploding with

this morning's projected losses, the
not-questioning not questioning

the need to destroy the village to
save it. Victory is measured twice—

in the before and after of every
Tal Afar, Qaim, Hawija, each become

a too-dimmed light in Allah's eyes.
Let us total the mosques un-built,

count the bursts of flip-flops and
abayas free-floating above the rebar

in the shadows of twisting haints,
imagine how the hardest battle ever

imprints on a girl's pale pinked sleeves
and the bright-colored balls in pool halls.

© 2017 Maureen E. Doallas

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Thought for the Day

To some people / Love is given, / To others / Only heaven.
 Langston Hughes, "Luck"

Quoted from Terrance Hayes's Foreword to The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks (The University of Arkansas Press, 2017), eds. Peter Kahn, Ravi Shankar, and Patricia Smith

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000), American Poet, Writer, and Teacher

Our Miss Brooks 100 | Gwendolyn Brooks 100 (See this site for centennial events.)

Text of "Luck" by Langston Hughes ("Luck" is from The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes.)

Langston Hughes (1902-1967), American Poet, Novelist, Playwright, Columnist, and Social Activist

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Note to My Readers

. . . everything makes me work with words. . . .
~ "The Art of Poetry" by Juan Gelman*

I live a life of words and art, and since I began Writing Without Paper in late September 2009, I have written more than 3,100 posts. . . mostly seven days a week. . . and moved well beyond more than one million two hundred thousand pageviews. I've shared my poems, my interviews, my critical reviews, my (rarer) essays, and more, especially my passion for visual and other arts. This blog has brought opportunities for great friendships off-line, the joy and honor of being asked to publish a collection (and subsequently to read some of my poetry in New York City), the pleasures of writing for TweetspeakPoetry blog, and the delight of answering an invitation to explore the world virtually before I open my door to the world outside. Every day I have found something that has engaged my deep curiosity or allowed me to be part of an abiding community of other writers and poets and artists and social activists. I have tried to curate my own offerings to you (I know you appreciate what I do) so that light, however little it may be, shines in this one small place and leaves behind beauty and something new to consider.

I am so thankful to all of you who visit here.

The time has come for me to take a break, at least from daily posting; I've had to give myself permission to do so. Life events, some difficult, some joyous, and self-care require I do this. 

Consequently, at least through the end of September, please expect many fewer posts each week; sometimes, perhaps, none at all. I'll still be reading and learning from all of you whose own words I follow, although I'll also be cutting back on social media time.

My monthly Artist Watch columns for the online arts magazine Escape Into Life will continue uninterrupted, and I'll continue to post my introductions to them here at Writing Without Paper



* Quoted from Dark Times Filled With Light: The Selected Work of Juan Gelman (Hardie St. Martin, 2012)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Independence Day: July 4, 2017

Some July 4 Posts:

Also see my poems "Red White and Blue" of July 3, 2011, and "Some sling stones" of July 3, 2014.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Monday Muse: Bob Dylan - A Nobelist's Lecture

Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, who needs no introduction, received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. His lecture, required no later than June 10, 2017, was recorded on June 4, in Los Angeles, California; its audio file is now available to share. Take the 27:07 minutes to hear what Dylan has to say.

Read "The Rambling Glory of Bob Dylan's Nobel Speech", by Alexandra Schwartz, in The New Yorker (June 6, 2017).

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Thought for the Day

... not many people have ever died of love. But multitudes 
have perished, and are perishing every hour
— and in the oddest places! — for the lack of it.
~ James Baldwin

Quoted from James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room (1956; Vintage, 2013)

James Baldwin (1924-1987), American Novelist, Essayist, Playwright, Poet, and Activist

"James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket" (PBS | American Masters, 2013)

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Saturday Short

Cover Art

Today's short is the trailer for the novel The City Always Wins (Macmillan Publishers, June 13, 2017) by filmmaker and writer Robert Omar Hamilton. The book is about the failed 2011 uprising in Cairo, Egypt.

Read an excerpt.

Robert Omar Hamilton on FaceBook and Instagram