Book Haul January 14–Part 2

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Third, I found Swami Prabhupada’s book The Science of Self Realization. I feel strongly that the purpose of our life is to prepare for the after life and bringing one’s self to realization is not only the intention of our existence but is also the need that we feel in the core of our being. All of life’s advancements through thousands of years has been to make it easier to realize our true selves, we may not be there still as of yet. I heard something on the radio about how we have to fight our human nature to survive, but I feel that instead we should acknowledge it and try to understand it so we can then transform it into something better. Can you imagine a cat without cat’s nature, or a dog, deer or bear? Of course not. So how are humans and our nature different? It is that the nature of animals is perfectly in tune with the intention with the divine, and we humans are not. I believe that we live in utopia, all the proof you need is out in nature that has not been disfigured by human development. This may also explain why we experience suffering. It is not natural to experience this, so therefore we are sensitive to it, when things are good and we are happy, it goes by unnoticed. Hopefully the experiencer of suffering gains wisdom and realizes that it is not the outside but the inside that is the source of suffering and works to change themselves. It is our opportunity to purify ourselves on the mortal plane, then return to our origin. Swami Bhaktivedanta says:

“The human being is distinguished from the animals in that the animals cannot understand what is God. And if the human being also does not understand what is God, then he is [an] animal.” His intention is to bring about the god consciousness within us.

Fourth, I randomly found this book on argumentation and as we make new year resolutions to improve upon ourselves, I have chosen to address my passiveness issue. Being an Aquarian with a Pisces moon, being passive comes very easy to me, if indeed the angle of the planets and stars contribute to our temperaments. I’m very live and let live and can’t we all just get along. Sometimes though, people are not satisfied to agree to disagree and being passive in this situation can be just as destructive as to be antagonistic and at what point does passivity differ from cowardice? The saying goes that if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. I also noticed that if you do stand for something there are people who want to push you down for it. So what is the point of having beliefs and values if you don’t know how to defend them? There is always a root cause for the actions (or inaction in this case) that must be understood before real change can happen. So, my passivity is caused by my fear of becoming what I don’t want to be: A compassion less person who only sees themselves as right and will antagonize anyone who does not reflect these opinions. This will hopefully be a first step into being able to gracefully defend myself against such conflicts and stop being passive for fear of being turned into something I’m not.

K.S

Book Haul January 15 2015–Part 1

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Going to bookstores is a favorite pastime, you never know what you will find and sometimes it feels like fate has passed a book into your hands.

First off, I found this Indian Art survey by Phaidon. This publisher does a great job in collecting art examples for the reader to enjoy. I had wanted to take a class on Eastern art but my university did not offer one, so this looks like a great alternative. It features sculpture, architecture, paintings and jewelry. I also appreciate that it is a medium size volume that is easy to hold, many art books are huge and heavy.

Second, I found The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. This volume includes 1,775 Dickinson poems, quite many not included in a selected poem books. Despite her diminutive appearance, she possesses a powerful mind with a steely vision, she takes aim at her subject and the resulting poems are stunning. I am fond of her even if I shall never know her because behind her lace delicate language, you find incredible strength and resilience. She took the tragedy of death and with her wonderful talent found beauty, peace and solace. The introduction reminded me of something that had happened in a poetry writing class I had taken. Each of us would present a poem and the rest of us would provide commentary. I remember that I suggested to a girl in my class that she should allow her poem to “breathe.” This comment was met by furrowed brows and tilted heads around the room. I had no means to explain further as it seems so fundamental and essential. I recoiled in embarrassment and kept my thoughts to myself for the rest of the class. Well, the first line on the second paragraph on the first page of the introduction reads:

“Emily Dickinson, then thirty-one years old, was writing a professional man of letters to inquire whether her verses “breathed.”

Finally, someone understands what I am talking about! Thank you Emily Dickinson.

K.S.

An Analysis of Daddy by Sylvia Plath

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In Plath’s most controversial poem, the speaker describes the relationship with her father in neglect, disconnection and oppression. The first stanza is one of my favorite in poetry as it is unusual and effective description of oppression, like a foot in a tight shoe. The feelings of abandonment by her father’s premature death and the dissolution of her marriage to Ted Hughes produces this emotionally charged poem, the anger turned into absurdity from failing to find resolution. The speaker compares the relationship as Jew to Nazi for daughter and father, “An engine, an engine/ Chuffing me off like a Jew./…I began to talk like a Jew./I think I may well be a Jew.” (Lines 31-32..34-35)This imagery is uncomfortable, especially because the obvious over exaggeration of the relationship. Unfortunately, this language has turned some readers off to Plath’s work, that Sylvia perhaps trivializes the holocaust and there may be a lot of truth in that but it may also describe the holocausts that are invisible to the naked eye. Given the very theatrical treatment of what could be considered a monologue turned poem. Plath very well may have not intended “Daddy” to be read in a literal way, as poems have speakers who are not the poet themselves and of course we cannot ask her.

Starting on line 56, Plath describes her attempted suicide, her attempt to “get back, back, back to you./I thought even the bones would do.” (Lines 59-60) That in spite her anger at him for abandoning her and her reaction is to turn him into a monster for doing so, she still loves him as his daughter and always will. My favorite line is on 56, “Bit my pretty red heart in two.” Plath’s talent for metaphors really sparkles here, describing the heartbreak of losing a parent and having a child’s limited comprehension that he did not actually intend to die for her sake.

02 SP D2The final stanza of the poem describes Sylvia’s resolution to her father by taking revenge against him (and perhaps Hughes). Who like the Vampire, bled her emotions, with a stake through the heart, like the fiction recommends. To continue the theme, villagers parade around his death, because the speaker has no regret and neither do the villagers in her imagination (as we imagine how others may react to our actions.)

K.S.

A favorite poem by w.b. yeats

He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Letter to 2015

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So another year begins…

I find myself more every day, and 365 pieces of have fallen into place in 2014. Writing has shown me my destiny, the words of my favorite writers have become faded and worn thin–so we begin again. 2015, this is my letter to you.

To put it simply, contemporary work doesn’t reach me where I want to be reached. It lacks humanity that makes me feel. Why? Because we don’t use it anymore. It being humanity, which is and has been our refuge in this unforgiving world. We have made our lives more comfortable-for fear that lack of comfort is our enemy. We see now that it isn’t. Where are the new writers that are in the vein of the old immortals? Our current hasn’t stopped injustice to humanity or violation of the soul, but has been dulled down, the cries sound like they are underwater. If someone can feel comfortable in this, then there is something that I don’t want to know.

As we read something, we compare it to our internal sense of truth. If we are not writing to compel our higher senses, then what is the point? The world is still an uninhabitable place for the sensitive heart, compassion is a stranger out of place. We of the sensitive kind still have to carve our place in the world, because it doesn’t understand. People feel they can’t live, they don’t see their reflection when they look out into the world and think that they don’t exist. So 2015, you and me are going to have to change this.

Art has never meant “self expression” for me, instead it has been the way I connect to people. Art as communication is sacred because it is so pure, it permeates through the barriers of reality and for a moment, you are one consciousness. Amazing, truly a gift from god.

Remember–Reality is illusion, death is real.

Let’s do some cool things.

K.S.

Book Haul Dec 22

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I love to haunt the local used book shops, they are like toy stores for adults. The isles tower over you while you search in wonder of what you will find and when you find a book you have wanted for some time, you gasp with excitement. That is what The Portable Dorothy Parker did for me when I found her yesterday.

I had gone back and forth about whether to get this 1973 edition or the updated one. I preferred this vintage portrait cover because the updated version has a black and white photo of Mrs. Parker looking rather haggard. Like the house maid, while scrubbing the floors, looks up to see if it is lunch time yet. The fates of the used book store presented me with this one and upon comparison of the contents online, they appear to be identical in spite of boasting 30 more pages in the updated edition.

The thing about glamour (which I would define as elegance that sparkles) is that you have to keep with it or it will go flat. Marilyn has glamour to spare, so when I found this Bio of Marilyn by Donald Spoto, I found it to be the perfect subject to polish up on my glamour with. I was pleasantly surprised by the thoughtfully written and measured opinion on this woman’s life. So often the biographies of movie stars try to mimic the sensationalist weekly tabloids. I usually don’t like pink, but she makes it look good.

I need more Millay and Lennon in my life, as it became apparent to me when I found these books.

I adore the unusual Anais Nin. Always beautifully insightful and one never knows what to expect from this true individual.

K.S.

XVII by Emily Dickinson,”My Wheel is in the dark,–“

Poems by Emily Dickinson Edited by her Niece, C 1957

Poems by Emily Dickinson
Edited by her Niece, C 1957

My Wheel is in the dark,–                                                                                                                                                           I cannot see a spoke,                                                                                                                                                             Yet know its dripping feet                                                                                                                                                        Go round and round.

My foot is on the tide–                                                                                                                                                            An unfrequented road,                                                                                                                                                          Yet have all roads                                                                                                                                                                    A “clearing” at the end.

Some have resigned the loom,                                                                                                                                             Some in the busy tomb                                                                                                                                                         Find quaint employ,                                                                                                                                                             Some with new, stately feet                                                                                                                                                  Pass royal through the gate,                                                                                                                                          Flinging the problem back at you and me.                                                                                                                                  (pg. 227)

The beauty in poetry is the relationships found by our beloved poets. I usually don’t care for observational type poems that finish with what it means to the speaker. That, for me, seems almost rude, like having a conversation with someone who only wants to tell you about their experiences. Anyone can observe something and draw conclusion. What is interesting is the affect it has on the speaker and the relationship of the images and words. Emily finds the carriage wheel as an analogy of the self, pairs it with the circular loom. To create this type of poem, it takes more effort but is more fun to write and read.

K.S.