Jesse Field
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"难" Jan 08, 2021 08:11PM

Understanding Poetry
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Wallace Stevens
“The poem must resist the intelligence
Almost successfully.”
Wallace Stevens, The Collected Poems

Toni Morrison
“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
Toni Morrison, Beloved

“One of the interesting takeaways from both the Antonine plague and polio is what a difference a strong leader can make during an epidemic. Marcus Aurelius’s swift response to the Antonine plague—and his attempt to help cover expenses for the general populace and rebuild the parts of the army decimated by the disease—staved off the fall of the Roman Empire, at least temporarily. When FDR took up polio as a cause, America followed his lead and went to work eradicating it. Although his role may not have been as significant, Eisenhower is also to be commended for trying to ensure that cost did not prohibit any child from receiving the polio vaccine, and that the vaccine was shared with the world. Those men each acknowledged the seriousness of their crises and went about bravely confronting the disease in their midst head-on. They did not ignore it or glamorize it or shame people for having it, because that never works. That strategy just gives diseases more time to multiply and kill people. Diseases are delighted when you refuse to take them seriously.”
Jennifer Wright

Immanuel Kant
“Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed nonage. Nonage is the inability to use one's own understanding without another's guidance. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one's own mind without another's guidance. Dare to know! (Sapere aude.) "Have the courage to use your own understanding," is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.”
Kant Immanuel

Barbara W. Tuchman
“Disaster is rarely as pervasive as it seems from recorded accounts. The fact of being on the record makes it appear continuous and ubiquitous whereas it is more likely to have been sporadic both in time and place. Besides, persistence of the normal is usually greater than the effect of the disturbance, as we know from our own times. After absorbing the news of today, one expects to face a world consisting entirely of strikes, crimes, power failures, broken water mains, stalled trains, school shutdowns, muggers, drug addicts, neo-Nazis, and rapists. The fact is that one can come home in the evening--on a lucky day--without having encountered more than one or two of these phenomena. This has led me to formulate Tuchman's Law, as follows: "The fact of being reported multiplies the apparent extent of any deplorable development by five- to tenfold" (or any figure the reader would care to supply).”
Barbara W. Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century

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