January 28, 2011

You Should Date an Illiterate Girl

by Charles Warnke (Jan. 19, 2011) Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the […]
December 2, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

Charles Simic: Evening Talk

Everything you didn’t understand Made you what you are. Strangers Whose eye you caught on the street Studying you. Perhaps they were the all-seeing Illuminati? They knew what you didn’t, And left you troubled like a strange dream. Not even the light stayed the same. Where did all that hard […]
November 30, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

Of Urgent Truths and Firsts

“What rot, I didn’t mean it, did you mean it?” (“No, of course not, of course I didn’t mean it.”) They laughed in recognition of their extremity, just as they might have laughed at another time, in the middle of quite different, astoundingly tender declarations. They trembled with murderous pleasure, […]
November 17, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

Jonathan Safran Foer: On Distance and Silence

Tragedy primes one for humor. And humor primes one for tragedy. They amplify each other. As a writer, I am trying to express those things that are most scary to me, because I am alone with them. Why do I write? It’s not that I want people to think I […]
November 5, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

An Act of Returning

Ex-stasis: where one does not belong to any place, where anything can lead to something, where something can lead to nothing, where the self is not located nearby, where the self is left somewhere else. Notes on Baguio Houses constructed on mountains’ shoulders looked like painted boxes arranged drastically like […]
October 31, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

Boracay: Traveling with Llosa

Life gets difficult when a person goes to live somewhere else. . . Luckily we know how to walk. Luckily we’ve been walking for such a long time. Luckily we’re always moving from one place to another. What would have become of us if we were the sort of people […]
October 18, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

CURRENT READS: Llosa and Munro

Currently reading Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Storyteller. Halfway through Munro’s The Progress of Love, which I started first before Sacks’s The Island of Colorblind.  Why did I temporarily stop reading it? Because Munro penetrated the border one created: the wall between what is labeled as personal and what is knowledge. […]
October 15, 2010

Adrienne Rich: Cartographies of Silence

1. A conversation begins with a lie. and each speaker of the so-called common language feels the ice-floe split, the drift apart as if powerless, as if up against a force of nature A poem can begin with a lie. And be torn up. A conversation has other laws recharges […]
October 15, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

Oliver Sacks: The Island of the Colorblind

But the Eden of lost childhood, childhood imagined, became transformed by some legerdemain of the unconscious to an Eden of the remote past, a magical “once,” rendered wholly benign by the omission, the editing out, of all change, all movement. For there was a peculiar static, pictorial quality in these […]
October 9, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

Mario Vargas Llosa and Notes on Latin American Literature

  “The lies in novels are not gratuitous — they fill in the insufficiencies of life. Thus, when life seems full and absolute, and men, out of an all-consuming faith, are resigned to their destinies, novels perform no service at all. Religious cultures produce poetry and theater, not novels. Fiction […]
October 6, 2010
Backpacking with a Book

Poetry: X. J. Kennedy and Kelli Russell Agodon

The Purpose of Time is to Prevent Everything from Happening at Once X. J. Kennedy Suppose your life a folded telescope Durationless, collapsed in just a flash As from your mother’s womb you, bawling, drop Into a nursing home. Suppose you crash Your car, your marriage—toddler laying waste A field […]
October 2, 2010

Musings on Reading, Unreading, Rereading

  Another month just folded, another one is unfolding, and between them are books bought, hoarded, and yet remained unread. One of the recent purchases was Octavio Paz’s On Poets and Others—a collection of personal and critical  essays juxtaposing poets’ lives—the mundane side—as well as their respective writings and styles. […]