Dod Proctor, %22Morning,%22 (1927)…………………………..“Morning” by Dod Procter (1926).

………………………………………………………………………… December 2nd, 2017
My writing is for me like a journal that sleeps in in the morning…

that wakes itself up every day from scratch…

that is always the same yet always completely different…

that like time itself starts over again every time it’s aware of the time…

that like time is aware of itself only in a present that has neither a past nor a future or anything in common with anything defined, labelled, catalogued or published…

that is always there in my present because it has never had to become like another person’s book on my shelf…

that is never finished because it has no other reader to fix it like a butterfly on a pin, a print in the darkroom, or a boat with a chart and a hand-bearing compass somewhere out there on the ocean…

that is never opened because it’s a book that has never been cut even after it has been selected, edited, printed, purchased and held in a hand or a wrapper or warmed in a pocket or by the pillow in somebody’s bed…

that is susceptible to revision but not editing, i.e. susceptible to being re-seen but not re-said because it might sound better any old way…

[cont.] ……………………………………………………………… December 3rd, 2017


…………………………...‘LIBERATION’  (vendredi, 19  janvier 1990)

[cont.] ……………………………………………………………… December 4th, 2017
I lay in for a long time yesterday morning, figuratively speaking, and my sense of it is that that was good. It meant I didn’t have to explain anything to you about what I was doing and, low and behold, that worked out brilliantly. Because it was obvious — you just clicked on the clipping to get in and even if you didn’t speak a word of French the drapes showed you everything. And of course Cristina Szemere then set that up beautifully in her elegant précis: “persistent absence…awareness because there is no revelation, no un-dressing.”

Oh my!

And then on top of all that there were you visitors from France, Spain, Angola, India and Thailand along with the anglophones from the U.K. and America, all clicking on ‘Liberation’ to get a life in the next:  FOR FRANZ WRIGHT – January 21, 2010.

What I’ve done today is highlight the relevant passages in blue so that if you’re ready you can breeze through it all quite easily and I can continue to lie in.

Oh yes, and the keywords, of course: Didactic, Perfectly and Awful.

[cont. in the Comments.]…………………………………………. December 6th, 2017


  1. Cristina Szemere said,

    December 3, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    …When persistent absence turns into vibrant presence… It’s a wonderful idea to connect the meaning of your writing with the description of the drapes/wraps (English?). Being aware of something without it being revealed or even creating awareness because there is no revelation, no un-dressing. We can only “see” when there is a certain distance.

  2. December 3, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    We can only see important things when they are covered up, and only understand them when they are finally and very personally dis-covered. Like Dod Procter’s painting in 1926 of the 16 year old daughter of her fisherman neighbor in Cornwall. And who would ever have noticed the angel under the sheets if it hadn’t been for the artist who drew not her but the classical drapes/wraps/folds, whatever we call them in English. Indeed, the French do so much better in the vocabulary of cover-up than we do — which is why Victoria’s Secret is almost completely French. (“Lingerie,” isn’t that what we call it in English?)

    Also to know about women like Dod Procter did, for how many women have ever painted women’s bodies as she did?

    ‘Morning’ is a Magnificat!

    Thanks, Cristina — a blessing to have noticed so much and found the words to say it!


  3. December 6, 2017 at 10:45 am

    ……………………………………………………………………….December 6th, 2017
    Sometimes I write myself into things that leave me sick at heart.

    I did not sleep well last night worrying about this thread. At least I did not wake up well, and here I am writing at daybreak with my friendly cup of tea growing cold beside me because I haven’t been able to nestle back into the sort of warm, lying-in writing I’ve been writing about — i.e. NOT like the fisherman’s daughter in Dod Procter’s painting, who doesn’t need any writing to be just like she is, but about being in myself like she is when painted, that still and well-formed, weighty yet buoyant and illuminated by the light of well-being. To write in the  wraps, in other words — pli selon pli.

    Hard to say, even if I have managed to say some of it quite well already, at least I think I have. But what I have to deal with now is how I got to For Franz Wright, that is to explain the intrusion or to take it all down, which I’ve done many times in the past. But the times I’ve wrestled my way through such self-blots have always been better, and I mean the awkward embarrassments I’ve written myself into quite recently like this, and like this — you can’t imagine how I struggled over both, or how relieved I felt when I finally delivered them. And, minor detail, I really do believe they are worth it.

    The problems are:

    1.) Why reintroduce an old relic like the Liberation article, which was already 20 years old when I reposted it 7 years ago?

    2.) Why “Leonardo Amongst Women” and “Life Class with Kant” yet again?

    3.) Why disinter the whole For Franz Wright thread 7 years after the discussion?

    4.) And of course, quite specifically, why Franz Wright 2 ½ years after his death?


  4. December 7, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Maybe I stumbled into all this because I realized it would be my birthday today.

    Recently I’ve been feeling like Jean Rhys must have before she finally got noticed. “It’s too late,” she said when recognition came to her at last in 1966. She was 76, almost my age today, and had published nothing for 30 years, all her earlier work having been allowed to fall out of print.

    In fact, Jean Rhys fell out of print because people found the details of her personal life “sordid,” and didn’t want to read about failure however well-written, or deal with her foul-mouthed rants if they did. But when she recast herself as Mrs Rochester in The Wide Sargasso Sea they suddenly realized: “It’s not about the girl at all, the little West-Indian floozy. It’s about Jane Eyre!” And then all the rest of her work opened up, and there was gold-leaf everywhere.

    Which is what I want to say about myself, that I am a relic too, and that that’s one of the reasons why relics so often surface in my work. Because at my age they’re just there, “the detritus of hope” as I described them in the bushes in “On What I Can Say.” And of course that’s me by the river, fishing.

    The fact is that for 25 years I have been creating and recreating my poems over and over again in a process more like prayer or chanting a mantra than writing, a most un-modern, specifically un-American way of going about things. But maybe our poetry is almost ready for that, and I don’t mean for more formalism but for solitude, concentration, visualization, and magic. Maybe at this time of national disintegration our poetry needs to shift away from the editorial board, the public forum and the workshop toward the restorative ‘fable,’ the ‘icon’ — toward something like my ‘relics,’ in other words, the simple ones illuminated in red by Julija, the ones that were found, not written.

    I suspect that when my work comes in over the transom most board readers don’t know where to look as not so well-brought up people used to say in the parlor. How could such poetry have been written by a poet who is untrained, knows no one, and has published almost nothing? Where could such a poet be housed, or what for? What does he or she do for a living, or just live for that matter? Who is going to take an interest in a poet who is 78 years old today yet has never read a poem in a bookshop or café, sat down to write in a workshop, or published a book? How can such a potboy claim to be a poet?

    Which is also my start toward addressing the problems I listed above.


  5. December 15, 2017 at 10:22 am

    I set myself too big a challenge to meet here, and after some days of trying I decided to start a new thread. Because I really didn’t know why I needed to go back to all this seven years later — I just knew that I had to find a way to express the hunch that has been driving me about the human condition as embodied in great men in particular, men as wise yet haunted as Samson, Hamlet, Caravaggio, T.E.Lawrence and Franz Wright. And I think today I finally got it at the bottom of the page here, or at least got what I feel able to say about it.


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