444 Slices
Medium 9780253019042

Part 4 Artists and their Craft

Douglas A. Wissing Quarry Books ePub

A winter vista of Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, from the 1900s reveals several prominent central-campus structures.

Courtesy of Indiana Historical Society, Indiana Postcard Collection, P 408.


THE WINTER OF 1908 BEGAN WITH STORMS HOWLING ACROSS the Indiana prairie, burying Crawfordsville’s stately Wabash College under swales of snow. Not long after yet another blizzard in early February, a distraught twenty-two-year-old professor of Romance languages (and aspiring poet) wrote a jangled letter about losing his job to his father back in Philadelphia:

Dear Dad

Have had a bust up. But come out with enough to take me to Europe. Home Saturday or Sunday. Dont let mother get excited.


On the back, he scribbled,

I guess something that one does not see but something very big & white back of the destinies. Has the turning and the loading of things & this thing & I breath again.lovingly

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Medium 9781927068304

Archangels and Jingle Bells

Lloyd Ratzlaff Thistledown Press ePub


I Question not my Corporeal or Vegetative Eye any more than I would Question a Window concerning a Sight. I look thro’ it & not with it. — William Blake

Perceptions are acts of creation. They can bring a dead world to life. They can replace the objective idols of our culture, and its disdain for our subjectivity, with images that point back at us when we see them. Lively images.

He thought he saw a Banker’s Clerk
Descending from the bus,
He looked again, and found it was
A hippopotamus.

For more than a decade I worked as a therapist for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties. Sometimes we got into philosophical discussions which would go something like this.

“Is there such a thing as a real Santa Claus?” I’d ask.

“No there isn’t,” the sophisticated ones said, and went on to explain what really happens on Christmas Eve: “Your mom or dad just puts the presents under the tree after you go to sleep.”

For others, skepticism had begun to intrude: “Some people say there is no Santa, but I think there is. But I don’t know how he flies to all the houses in the world in one night, unless it’s on a laser beam or something. Or maybe he brings the presents early and your parents hide them till Christmas.”

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Medium 9781847778772

The Miracle63

Ford, Ford Madox Carcanet Press Ltd. ePub

The former Miss Sinclair, lying in her great four-post bed, the sheets to her firm chin, was aware that her husband, coming from his bath, was walking briskly and humming. She was still in the stage of studying him. She was aware – though he wasn’t – that he was a man of deep and suddenly aroused moodinesses, and these she watched with attention because his career was very precious to her – though she herself had abandoned none of her own hopes of scientific honours. This was a new mood! He pushed the door open sharply, and, with long strides – for he was a tall man – in his elegantly cut trousers and admirable white shirt, crossed the floor to the foot of the bed where he faced her.

‘I maintain,’ he exclaimed good-humouredly, stretching out his hand in a parody of himself when lecturing, ‘that A Man of Intellect cannot be an efficient Man of Action. I have solved in my bath a considerable problem. Yet I have again lost my collar-stud!’

‘For myself,’ his wife asserted in imitation of his tone, ‘I maintain that the age of miracles cannot return and never existed. Yet you are addressing remarks to me before breakfast. Here are four irreconcilable phenomena!’

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Medium 9780253018595

Excerpt from Brother · Fiction

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

Jambiani Beach no.1. Black and white photograph (digital). ©2008 Isaak Liptzin.

a forthcoming novel*

HE WAS MY brother. The one who told me about lightning and girls. The one who crouched beside me in hideouts when we were little. His shoulder thin and bare against mine, his body always just a skin away. That summer when we were only seven and eight and we climbed the sappy pine busting out of the asphalt behind the 7-Eleven. Days after reaching for each other’s hands to smell and name what clung there still. (‘It’s Mr. Clean,’ my brother finally said, nailing it.) That fall of the same year when he led me to the road-side ditch off Lawrence Avenue and piled the loose and blowing stuff of this land over our bodies like a blanket, hoping for cover. Leaves of orange and red, dried weeds and twigs. Also trash like paper and foil and the many shredded plastic bags blown here from fast food shops. Our hats camouflaged all guerilla style with twigs and mashed up drinking straws. Our faces already the color of earth.

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Medium 9780253018571

The Staccato Master of the World

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

AMIRI BARAKA, A brilliant light that shined brightest when in the middle of battling for his people’s rights, has taken the eternal sleep. His manifest destiny was to make racial criminals and political thugs angry and uncomfortable with a staccato style that imitated jazz music in its isolation of certain notes that appeared to be detached and of a shortened duration. This is why the poems he wrote agitated the establishment and made him a righteous defender of human freedom; they were poems with words that actualized energy and power and, more than most poets, he was a student of sound like the old bald-headed Egyptian priests who knew that articulation of the voice was the chief miracle of human mystery. He was a free man and, in that freedom, he was free to be bold, to be wrong, to be strong and to be adventurous, and to be right at times. He knew that freedom came with a price but that price was never too costly for one’s sense of purpose. Always capable of self-correction, Baraka’s ability to take the dagger of his words and strike the blow for truth as he saw it was uncanny and a part of his genius. We will miss him and his poems and plays and essays that provoked a generation to be better humans, to unleash hell on those whose fat bellies snuffed out the souls of the poor. Despite his detractors, or those who believed that he was merely this-or-that, he was a socialist, feminist, womanist, nationalist, and culturalist who sought to bring equality and justices to the world. Nothing anti-African passed him without a comment and nothing was so close to him as his battle with his own intellect. A great spirit has passed this way!

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