“I would never be part of anything. I would never really belong anywhere, and I knew it, and all my life would be the same, trying to belong, and failing. Always something would go wrong. I am a stranger and I always will be, and after all I didn’t really care.”—Jean Rhys, Smile Please: An Unfinished Autobiography (via lydianea)
“Already is seems to me that I have spent a lifetime in this narrow room whose walls will continue to regard me with secrecy through innumerable lifetimes to come. Is it life, then, or death, stretching like an uncolored stream behind and in front of me? There is no love here, nor hate, nor any point where feeling accumulates. In this nameless place nothing appears animate, nothing is close, nothing is real; I am pursued by the remembered scent of dust sprinkled with summer rain.”—Anna Kavan, Asylum Piece
“I had a friend, a lover. Or did I dream it? So many dreams are crowding upon me now that I can scarcely tell true from false: dreams like light imprisoned in bright mineral caves; hot, heavy dreams; ice-age dreams; dreams like machines in the head.”—Anna Kavan,Asylum Piece
Yet genius of a sort must have existed among women as it must have existed among the working classes. Now and again an Emily Bronte or a Robert Burns blazes out and proves its presence. But certainly it never got itself on paper. When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet, of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen, some Emily Bronte who dashed her brains out on the moor or mopped and mowed about the highways crazed with the torture that her gift had put her to.
[…]any woman born with a great gift in the sixteenth century would certainly have gone crazed, shot herself, or ended her days in some lonely cottage outside the village, half witch, half wizard, feared and mocked at. For it needs little skill in psychology to be sure that a highly gifted girl who had tried to use her gift for poetry would have been so thwarted and hindered by other people, so tortured and pulled asunder by her own contrary instincts, that she must have lost her health and sanity to a certainty.
“I see nothing. We may sink and settle on the waves. The sea will drum in my ears. The white petals will be darkened with sea water. They will float for a moment and then sink. Rolling over the waves will shoulder me under. Everything falls in a tremendous shower, dissolving me.”—Virginia Woolf, The Waves (via lavandula)
“You cannot let me walk inside you too long inside
the veins where my small feet touch
You must reach inside and pull me
like a silver bullet
from your arm.”—Diane Wakoski, from “Inside Out” (adapted from sharingpoetry and poshpunk)
“From the grey sky that lowered over the city outside a few isolated snowflakes were floating down, and disappeared into the dark chasms of the yards behind the buildings. I thought of the onset of winter in the mountains, the complete absence of sound, and my childhood wish for everything to be snowed over, the whole village and the valley all the way to the mountain peaks, and how I used to imagine what it would be like when we thawed out again and emerged from the ice in spring.”—W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz (translated by Anthea Bell)
“Why am I compelled to write?… Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger… To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispell the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit… Finally I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.”—Gloria Anzaldúa (via modernmalaise)
Glitter Tongue is an online collection of love poems by thirty queer and trans poets, launching Valentines Day 2012. It grew out of a collective writing effort among Margaret Rhee, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Tamiko Beyer, Oliver Bendorf, Meg Day, and Ching-In Chen.
* * *
Here, glittertonguing, we all try, in concert, to say love and mean something queer and fantastic. And in that collective trying, perhaps we’ve built something larger than success or failure. Perhaps we’ve built something as messy and gorgeous and transformative as love.. — Tamiko Beyer
“The only things
between me and death are these words, as long as I
carry them around and write them down, you won’t die,
and as long as I write and write, the words will still
fall over us like a snow shower in May, the day we sat
in the car at Schiller Park, and watched the wind blow
snowflakes like dandelion fluff onto new green grass,
tiny ice fell on us, a faint crinkle, melting on the glass.”—Minnie Bruce Pratt, from “No Time to be Afraid”
The MJP is a multi-faceted project that aims to be a major resource for the study of modernism and its rise in the English-speaking world, with periodical literature as its central concern. The historical scope of the project has a chronological range of 1890 to 1922 (though the earliest journals that currently appear on the site date from 1896 and 1904), and a geographical range that extends to wherever English language periodicals were published. With magazines at its core, the MJP also offers a range of genres that extends to the digital publication of books directly connected to modernist periodicals and other supporting materials for periodical study.
We believe the materials on the MJP website will show how essential magazines were to modernism’s rise.
“Perhaps the link to pursue, then, is not the one between passion and truth, but between truth and death. Between being so knowing, and touching on the one thing that – as the cliché puts it – no one can ever know. Something untellable, but which has to be told, enters the frame when the subject of biography dies by her own hand, when death arrives too soon. And if that subject is a woman, there is always the risk that femininity will take on a deadly hue. In Freud’s reading, Cordelia – the ‘most excellent’ of the three sisters – becomes, in her dying moments, the ‘Goddess of Death’. In Lear’s arms, she is in fact carrying him, bringing him to the point where he will ‘make friends with the necessity of dying’. A woman is never more deadly than when so perfect, so innocent – like Cordelia – of any crime. Once the link is made, it is a no-win situation for the woman. Plath’s story offers us the same combination of elements, but more nakedly. Let the dead woman carry the can. What, it seems fair to ask, is being exorcised in the seemingly endless, punishing scrutiny of Sylvia Plath?”— from Jacqueline Rose’s “This is not a biography”, a defense of psychoanalytic readings of Sylvia Plath’s work (via confusionis)
“On mornings when I hope you forget my name,
I walk through the high wet weeds
that don’t have names either.
I do not remember the word dew.
I do not remember what I told you
with your ear in my teeth.”—Dean Young, from “Selected Recent and New Errors” (via proustitute)
“I am accused. I dream of massacres.
I am a garden of black and red agonies. I drink them,
Hating myself, hating and fearing. And now the
Its end and runs toward it, arms held out in love.”—Sylvia Plath, from “Three Women: A Poem for Three Voices”
“Having found some daguerreotypes on the floor of an attic—portraits eroded by time and light—I know that forgetting is something enormous, that forgetting is our highest destiny.”—Patrick Dubost, from “What I Know" (translated by Fiona Sampson)
“I think it’s really important to go to your room and sit there. I couldn’t mean that more seriously… So you go to your room and you wait for something to happen. You do that regularly.”—Stephen Dunn (adapted from wwnorton)
“…that this death fails to destroy me altogether means that I want to live wildly, madly, and that therefore the fear of my own death is always there, not displaced by a single inch.”—Roland Barthes, Mourning Diary (translated by Richard Howard)
“Food, fire, walks, dreams, cold, sleep, love, slowness, time, quiet, books, seasons – all these things, which are not really things, but moments of life – take on a different quality at night-time, where the moon reflects the light of the sun, and we have time to reflect what life is to us, knowing that it passes, and that every bit of it, in its change and its difference, is the here and now of what we have.
“I have no need for words.
The sleet on the windows,
the slow breathing of you sleeping,
the clock’s hum—
our home’s soft conversation.
No moon, but the clouds hold all that snow,
night softened to gray; no words can lighten
a sky like that, ease the push and pull that
holds us tight. What is it we won’t say?
Under the streetlight a rabbit shivers along
fence posts, shadows long as wet pines,
chicken wire clotted with drifts.
The heaviness of it—the spinning trees,
the sharp tongue of wind,
the fall into the smell of leaves,
into the cold, into you. Wordless.”—Patricia Kennedy Bostian, from “Sunday Afternoon”
“When it comes, you’ll be dreaming
that you don’t need to breathe;
that breathless silence is
the music of the dark
and it’s part of the rhythm
to vanish like a spark.”—Wislawa Szymborska, from “I’m Working on the World” in Poems New and Collected, trans. S. Baranczak and C. Cavanagh (via proustitute)
“I apologize to everything that I cannot be everywhere.
I apologize to everyone that I cannot be every man and woman.
I know that as long as I live nothing can justify me,
because I myself am an obstacle to myself.
Take it not amiss, O speech, that I borrow weighty words,
and later try hard to make them seem light.”—Wisława Szymborska, from “Under a Certain Little Star” (trans. by Magnus J. Krynski and Robert A. Maguire)