It's Ok (ish). Has a few interesting insights, and the statistics seem useful. You have to get over the writing though, it feels like it's written to...moreIt's Ok (ish). Has a few interesting insights, and the statistics seem useful. You have to get over the writing though, it feels like it's written to the lowest common denominator among men. As if their working assumption is men are not capable of reading beyond the 3rd grade level. Meanwhile, the author keeps trying to convince us of his new found authority on the subject via his immersion into the world of women, and, well, it gets old. His authority is the research/statistics, which get don't as much attention or analysis as I would have liked.
The book has a really annoying feature of "highlighting" sentences pulled from the text but putting them in a large font. The problem is, the text will read something like (see p142): "That's an easy chip shot if I ever saw one." Then immediatly below, in a larger font with a geometric bullet "That's an easy chip shot if I ever saw one." Why? Reading through it is painful. Every couple of pages this strange quoting mechanism is used. I found it really annoying.
I walked away with a few discussion points I'll bring up with my wife, but overall was somewhat insulted by it's presentation and disappointed by its lack of depth. (less)
“…the stress on a syllable in English is not inherent in the sound, but relative. A syllable is stressed or unstressed only in relation to the syllabl...more“…the stress on a syllable in English is not inherent in the sound, but relative. A syllable is stressed or unstressed only in relation to the syllables around it.” (Pinsky 12)
This principle, which I first read about in Timothy Steele’s works, has really unlocked the poetic world for me. I learned / reinforced several other ideas in this short, straight forwards guide to the landscape of poetic form.
1) Stress does not equal Rhythm. Meter concerns itself with stress or accent, rhythm more with duration or the length of each syllable, or the speed with which we say it. Rhythm can align with meter, or it can contrast with it: by default their relationship ebbs and flows.
2) A poetic line need not correspond with a grammatical unit, such as a phrase or sentence.
3) In addition to Rhyme, found in the spectrum between like and unlike sounds, there is another axis: That of roots. Contrasting a Germanic root and a Latin root produces a more subtle, but still noticeable effect.
4) Dividing pentameters among speakers, ala Shakespeare.
In the introduction, Richard Hugo observes that there is this "notion that the writer's problems are literary," which he counter-acts with his own the...moreIn the introduction, Richard Hugo observes that there is this "notion that the writer's problems are literary," which he counter-acts with his own theory: "In truth, the writer's problems are usually psychological, like everyone else's." This is the humble idea of the book. People aren't special because they are poets, poets are special because they are people. And Hugo spends his time exploring not just the poetic craft, but the emotional and psychological underbelly from which poems are birthed. Poems, for both the reader and especially the writer, become devices to explore the things we cannot otherwise dredge up from the soul.
He begins with the "triggering" subject of a poem is the initial inspiration: A rattlesnake, a forest brook, a busy airport. We start here, and then travel from this "town" into something deeper. The subject transfers from the trigger to the real or generated subject. The poet says discovers something, or generates some meaning, consciously or not.
The real magic of the book is later. He tells a story from high school of a kid who had written an honest experience that "could have gotten him thrown out of most classes in the school." But his teach had a different response: "McKensie broke the silence with applause. She raved approval, and we realized we had just heard a special moment in a person's life, offered in honesty and generosity, and we better damn well appreciate it. It may have been the most important lesson one can teach. You are someone and you have a right to your life. Too simple? Already covered by the Constitution? Try to find someone who teaches it. Try to find a student who knows it so well he or she doesn't need it confirmed." (p65)
This idea that "you are someone" is extended. Not only are you someone, but who you are and how you feel about yourself are the key shapers of your poetry:
Behind several theories of what happens to a poet during the writing of a poem--Elliot's escape from personality, Keat's idea of informing and filling another body, Yeats's notion of the mask, Auden's concept of the poet becoming someone elese for the during of the poem, Valery's idea of a self superior to the self--lies the implied assumption that the self as given is inadequate and will not do. How you feel about yourself is probably the most important feeling you have. It colors all other feelings, and if you are a poet, it colors your writing. It may account for your writing. (p67)
Hugo writes humbly, honestly, and sincerely. He bemoans all the conflicting advice given to poets and speaks with a voice of maturity: "I've been seriously advised to take drugs, to avoid drugs, to eat only seafood, to live on welfare, to stop drinking (good advice it turned out), to drink more (at one time an impossibility), to avoid sex, to pursue sex, to read philosophy, to avoid philosophy. Once someone told me I should master every verse form known to man. A poet is seldom hard up for advice. The worst part of it all is that sometimes the advice is coming from other poets, who should know better." (p100)
He avoids the fantastical, and comes across as a very readable, down-to-earth, thoughtful sort of person in touch with his emotions. This book transcends the poetic and would be helpful to anyone seeking to explore their inner self.
"I've seen the world tell us with wars and real estate developments and bad politics and odd court decisions that our lives don't matter. That may be because we are too many....Maybe the narcissism academics condemn in creative writers is but a last reaching for a kind of personal survival. Anyway, as a sound psychoanalyst once remarked to me dryly, narcissism is difficult to avoid. When we are told in dozens of insidious ways that our lives don't matter, we may be forced to insist, often far too loudly, that they do. A creative-writing class may be one of the last places you can go where your life still matters. Your life matters, all right. It is all you've got for sure, and without it you are dead." (p65)
"The words should not serve the subject. The subject should serve the words. This may mean violating the facts. For example, if the poem needs the word "black" at some point and the grain elevator is yellow, the grain elevator may have to be black in the poem. You owe reality nothing and the truth about your feelings everything." (p6)
"As Bill Kittredge, my colleague who teaches fiction writing, has pointed out: if you are not risking sentimentality, you are not close to your inner self." (p7)
"If I had to limit myself to one criticism of academics it would be this: they distrust their responses. They feel that if a response can't be defended intellectually, it lacks validity. One literature professor I know was asked as he left a movie theater if he had liked the movie, and he replied, "I'm going to have to go home and think about it." What he was going to think about is not whether he liked the movie, but whether he could defend his response to it. If he decided he couldn't, presumably he'd hide his feelings or lie about them." (p62)
"I suppose I haven't done anything but demonstrated how I came to write a poem, shown what turns me on, or used to, and how, at least for me, what does turn me on lies in a region of myself that could not be changed by the nature of my employment." (p109)
"Let's drop the phrase "as a poet." As a person, I simply like teaching in a university better than working in an aircraft factory." (p109)
"What adult would dream of writing a poem?" (p109)
"No job accounts for the impulse to find and order those bits and pieces of yourself that can come out only in the most unguarded moments, in the wildest, most primitive phrases we shout alone at the mirror. And no job modifies that impulse or destroys it." (p109)
Regardless of whether or not you are painting landscapes , this is a good read for artistic advice and direction. His philosophy is that you can't tea...moreRegardless of whether or not you are painting landscapes , this is a good read for artistic advice and direction. His philosophy is that you can't teach "art", but that you can teach the technical skills intrinsic to all good art. "In painting we are apt to be very forgiving of poor technical performance" he says, "In good art, the results do not have to be 'explained.'" The fundamentals he proceeds to teach throughout the book are but the means to "the beauty that they are eventually to support."
He proceeds to explain with very useful insight the aspects of design, light, perspective, color, composition, and other things. He describes not only the technical aspect, but the emotional and artistic dimensions as well. He talks about developing an "accumulation of emotions" that can help sort out the plethora of data nature throws at us to develop an idea or sense of the scene to paint.
I was an art major in college, and I wish I would have had read this back in school. It has a lot of very helpful ways of thinking about one's painting.
Quotes: "We must have design in a picture even at the expense of truth. You are using nature for your artistic needs."
Aerial perspective: "It is the yellow that fades out of a landscape as it recedes from the foreground."
"All things become cooler in color and lighter in value as they recede into the distance."
Balloon Theory of drawing trees...
"We must not train our brain to think with. Think of the bearing of such ranges of color and harmonies upon the main idea of our picture. Only, think with your heart!" (p85)
"In order that we may appreciate the enlivening rhythm of a rhumba, it is not necessary to play a dirge in the next room." (p86)
"I shall always hold that the mixing of color--its desired hue, shade or nuance--is the real thrill of painting." (p92)
"His difficulty is that he has not visited the woods often enough to have acquired empirical knowledge or experience and the consequent accumulation of emotions." (p116)
"Obviously enough, a "portrait" of the woods, a mere painted snapshot, is not wanted. A snapshot is not composed of accumulated emotions, but is a static statement of 1/100 of a second's duration. It is but one degree in the giant arc of eternity. Your picture must look like all the woods that ever grew, otherwise it is but a shell." (p116)
"I call this striving and searching after something extraordinary to paint, the "tourist's idea" of painting. Do not be a tourist-painter." (p132)
"If you must travel to paint, at least know that a work of art depends, not upon time nor place, but upon something that springs from the inner man." (p132)
"When an artist singles out (from the heterogenous mass of nature's material) the subject he is going to paint, he does so by virtue of an instinct of knowledge he possesses as to that subject's pliability to his artistic needs. In other words, he brings an idea to the motif before him (or, you might say, the motif gives him an idea what his idea is). If you approach nature without some idea, she is merciless in the way in which she piles lumber in your way." (p133)
"Truly, an artist's life is a responsible one, and one of sustained effort." (p133)(less)
Fascinating story of utter brokenness. Takes place in Japan, during the greatest and most successful Christian persecution in history. Christianity wa...moreFascinating story of utter brokenness. Takes place in Japan, during the greatest and most successful Christian persecution in history. Christianity was wiped out. Literally pushed off the islands of Japan. The novel covers the story of one missionary priest who is slowly absorbed into the "swamp of Japan".
Before I read it, I had simply no idea there ever even was a persecution in Japan. It turns out the story is rather sad. In an effort to acquire better trading rights, the various European countries tried to vilinize each other by declaring the missionaries were a precursor to an inevitable invasion. In response to this the Japanese closed their borders and kicked all Westerners out, internally stamping out whatever remained of the missionaries work. They were successful beyond measure.
The story itself is about a priest trying to make sense of what is happeneing. His mentor is rumored to have denounced the faith, and he doesn't believe it, and is seeking information as to the truth of what really happened. He sneaks into Japan to find out, but is captured. Through all the suffering observed and endured, God remains silient. (less)
Disappointed by how little of this book is spent arguing FOR something. Most of it just rails against the current culture. It uses volumes of very spe...moreDisappointed by how little of this book is spent arguing FOR something. Most of it just rails against the current culture. It uses volumes of very specific examples to argue for overall trends, but I fail to see how that's much different than the atheist/agnostic interviewing all the crazy religious types to denigrate Christianity. I would have enjoyed a more thoughtful analysis of what the people in his examples are actually trying to do, versus the hostile motivations the author automatically ascribes. Feels about 2 or 3 drafts from a much more useful book. (less)
This was a fun read. Each poem stands on it's own, but when read in the narrative context of the book as a whole they together became more than the su...moreThis was a fun read. Each poem stands on it's own, but when read in the narrative context of the book as a whole they together became more than the sum of their parts. The poems find a niche resting at the crossroads of the whimsical and the profound. The origin of the poems mitigates any platitudinal line to mere amusement that such could be found within the Times, and when a poem touches the heart, that amusement transfigures into awe that it was there, under our noses the entire time, needing only a wizard with a magic marker to show us what we've been missing. (less)
Lived up to it's name: It was very short, and it did a nice job of introducing a very broad range of topics concerning logic. The bibliography seems g...moreLived up to it's name: It was very short, and it did a nice job of introducing a very broad range of topics concerning logic. The bibliography seems good, and I'll be using it to further my study of the subject. (less)
Covers the creation of Two-Face, and is the comic that, in part, inspired the movie "The Dark Knight". Compared with Frank Miller's work on Batman, th...moreCovers the creation of Two-Face, and is the comic that, in part, inspired the movie "The Dark Knight". Compared with Frank Miller's work on Batman, this was really rather dull and boring. It doesn't really cover any thematic ideas, just month after month (the story covers an entire year) of monotonous repetition. A new villain makes an appearance, someone related to the mob dies. It has an incredibly non-sensical twist ending that really makes you wonder just what exactly you just read. It has a lot of pages but little dialog, so it's a fast read. The art is very symbolic, with each character drawn as more of a set of stereotypical traits than as a character with depth, something I found ironically well suited to the story.(less)
Most of the time I'm getting painting books for the pictures. This is the first book on painting I've really sat down and "read". As such, I found it...moreMost of the time I'm getting painting books for the pictures. This is the first book on painting I've really sat down and "read". As such, I found it pretty amazing. He talks about a lot of different subjects related to painting, and in particular how it should/should-not be taught. Lots to think about...here are some quotes that struck me:
"There is a widespread desire to break with all restraints, that the individual may express himself more freely. Perfect freedom is a thing only conceivable, for one individual, in one universe. If there were more than one, their desires might clash and all would have to give up their freedom to the one. But even one individual endowed with unlimited freedom, would be enough to upset the smooth working of any universe. This desire for absolute freedom, this anarchy, is a destructive not a constructive tendency. And in art it is everywhere destroying but nowhere creating. It is so much easier to destroy than to create, so much more effect can be got for your effort. And to those not capable of the long-sustained effort creative work requires, destroying is very tempting as a substitute. One seems to be doing so much, and certainly attracts more attention." (p35)
"The study of nature can never be neglected by the artist without impoverishing the language in which he expresses himself." (p59)
"That earnest person of honest narrow vision who comes along and says, "I don't see that colour," should have one's sympathy, as looked for with his coldly accurate eye, all the glory of colour disappears and has no existence. But Turner was quite justified in saying "Don't you wish you could!" for colour is one of the most rapturous truths that can be revealed to man. Colour must be felt before it can be seen." (p138)
I was accosted, when copying in a Continental gallery, by a globe-trotter, who said: "Young man, you are an artist; will you kindly explain to me the beauties of that picture? It is 'starred' in Baedeker, so I suppose it is a good one but I can't see anything in it." This attitude of mind is hopeless, however earnest. In the commercial world thing can be explained, but artistic things have to be experienced. And the picture itself is the only thing that can produce the experience. When this has failed, as it obviously had with my inquirer, you are as helpless as you would be if he had just partaken of a good dinner, which he had not appreciated; and had asked you to explain the quality of it, and refused to believe it was a good dinner because you could no do so. (p213)
There is too much striving for an aggressive and self-centred individuality, and not enough of the artist's losing himself in the deeper currents of the emotional life of his time. It is this "herd matter," as I believe psychologists would call it, that gives the weight and significance to art. (p265) [This discussion contines in an analysis of Rodin's sculpture as it represents the masses 'coming to power' through literacy and democracy, catching the emotional wave of the times.:]
It cannot be too much insisted upon that the creative faculties are not in the conscious intellect, are not the result of "taking thought." To be of the right quality they must come unsought, surging up from some unknown tract of inner mind, and nourished more by the affections than the intellect. A painting may be perfect as far as any known principles of form, tone, and colour are concerned, and yet lack the vital something, that is the most important element in the whole thing. (p274) (less)
p24 Typical narrow understanding of a calling: "your only excuse for staying home and not going to the mission field is if by staying home you can do...morep24 Typical narrow understanding of a calling: "your only excuse for staying home and not going to the mission field is if by staying home you can do more to further the cause of missions than by going..." p39 A common but unfortunate message: "God isn't looking for ability, but availability" p73 "We will not be a source of wisdom, unless we bless" p144 "We suffer with hope" p150 "is something lost by abandoning oral confessions..." p155 Being a hero v. Accepting limitations p157 "Nothing represents maturity as much as emotional resilience" (less)
This book changes the way I think about the world.
My Notes: p121 Interactional properties -> p162 in truth p140 List of Love metaphors p153 Old defin...moreThis book changes the way I think about the world.
My Notes: p121 Interactional properties -> p162 in truth p140 List of Love metaphors p153 Old definition of metaphors v. the authors new definition p156 summery p157 Metaphors have the power to define reality (by revealing/hiding) p159 Truth p169 When we desire to explain instead of answering true or false... p179 Truth is a function of our conceptual system p184 Meaning comes from people p185 Third option for objective v. subjective p226 Truth is...based on a non-universal conceptual system... p233 Metaphor in therapy p258 Metaphors are learned when two experiences occur at once... p274 There appears to be universal metaphors(less)
Didn't enjoy this one too much. Sort of a hodge-podge of sensational inciting comments and deeper philosophical/formational subjects. I couldn't figur...moreDidn't enjoy this one too much. Sort of a hodge-podge of sensational inciting comments and deeper philosophical/formational subjects. I couldn't figure out who his audience was: to shallow to be deep and to complex to be introductory. I'm not sure who'd I'd ever recommend this to.
See "The Making of the Modern University" by Julie Reuben
"The abandonment of Christian monotheism from the cognitive domain meant that there was no longer a basis for a unified curriculum. Without a single, rational God, why think that there is a unity to truth, that one discipline should have anything at all to do with another discipline? Thus, uni-versities gave wave to plural-versities, and we have lived with fragmentation in our schools ever since the 1930's." p70
Why? Aren't their purely practical reasons for a shift into specialization--the amount of human learning has exploded, and in the 1930's the tools to keep track and sort through the volumes of information being produced had not yet been developed. Compare this to the unification we're seeing in the age of wikipedia. As scholarly journals move towards easier access to information (as demanded by a generation entitled to all information) will not the plural-ness give way to the uni-ness? This feels like an unnecessary interjection of monotheism to make an argument that will be exciting only to the monotheistic base.
Q: Is it unfair to distinguish between knowledge gained from material science and knowledge obtained from other sources? Or is it merely the emphasis on the validity of what is seen (as opposed to what is not seen) that is the problem?
"Is there nonempirical knowledge?" p76
"Moral rules without knowledge degenerate into customs such as "don't eat your peas with a knife," and customs are too trivial to marshal the courage and effort needed to live by and internalize them."
Q: Does the Bible offer a form of moral relativism with it's changing 'covenant' over time? Moral law is relative to the timeline of God's entrance into human affairs.
"The skeptic tries to force the particularist to be a methodist by asking the "how-do-you-know?" question, since the skeptic is implying that before you can know, you must have criteria for knowledge. The skeptic knows he can refute the methodist. But the particularist will resist the slide into methodism by reaffirming that he can know some specific item without having to say how he knows it. For example, the particularist will say, "I know that mercy is a virtue and not a vice even if I don't know how it is that I know this. But, Mr. Skeptic, why do you think that I have to know how I know this before I can know it?" " p125
"Knowledge by acquaintance is an important foundation for all knowledge, and in an important sense, experience or direct awareness of reality is the basis for everything we know." p127
See "Early Christian Fathers" by Cyril C. Richardson See "The Problem of the Criterion" by Roderick Chisholm
See "Psalmody and Prayer in the Writings of Evagrius Ponticus" by Luke Dysinger "This literature is replete with detailed descriptions of the different compartments of the soul, the various movements that take place within it, a discernment of those movements, and the formation of the fruit of the Spirit within the souls as a means toward growing in the spirutal life."(less)
Interesting take on the spectrum of Christian belief...the author really tries to get at the question of "what have Christians always believed?", then...moreInteresting take on the spectrum of Christian belief...the author really tries to get at the question of "what have Christians always believed?", then discussing what beliefs fall in and outside of the general range. (less)