"Sure of itself, the stone claims nothing, whereas the tree, that mute entreaty, and the animal, an agonizing appeal, torment themselves this side of speech. Ages of silence and of screams wait in vain for us to deliver them, to serve as their interpreters; deserters of the world, we no longer aspire to anything but the reign of the undifferentiated, the darkness and the drunkenness of an epoch before daybreak, the uninterrupted ecstasy at the heat of that original opacity whose traces, now and then, we rediscover deep in ourselves or on the periphery of God."

— E. M. Cioran, The Temptation to Exist, trans. Richard Howard


Giovanni Bellini's circle, A Man in a Turban (via)


"A poem should be equal to:
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—

A poem should not mean
But be."

— Archibald MacLeish, from "Ars Poetica"


Bill Brandt, Self-Portrait with Mirror, East Sussex Coast, 1966 (via)


"There is too much self in my writing. Do you know the term Luk√°cs uses to describe aesthetic structure? Eine fensterlose Monade. I do not want to be a windowless monad—my training and trainers opposed subjectivity strongly, I have struggled since the beginning to drive my thought out into the landscape of science and fact where other people converse logically and exchange judgments—but I go blind out there. So writing involves some dashing back and forth between that darkening landscape where facticity is strewn and a windowless room cleared of everything I do not know. It is the clearing that takes time. It is the clearing that is a mystery."

— Anne Carson, Economy of the Unlost

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