Ars Poetica XII: Art is a question

In my last post I offered a few points from Siri Hustvedt’s truly interesting essay on Louise Bourgeois. One of the things I have been thinking about since, is Hustvedt’s assertion that: A work of art is always part person, that is: a work of art is part-thing-part-person, it is this aliveness – according to…

Short Talk On Housing

I have entered a new year of bookish life together with an old friend of mine, Anne Carson, or her texts, to be more precise. Close reading, slowly finding my way through her Short Talks. Here is how today started: Short Talk On Housing Here is one thing you can do if you have no…

Sea-change

How to write about nature in a way that makes the reader feel the landscape as if she was there; wandering through it … absorbed, possessed – ? Here is Jean Sprackland: Countless times I’ve seen the shore hewn and hammered, scattered with whole tree trunks, steel pipes, oil drums, concrete fence posts, dead sheep….

A talent for concealment and revelation

A breeze was blowing, and I could smell salt, seaweed, and sun-bleached shore. I knew, once again, that I’d found home. –Sue Hubbell, Waiting for Aphrodite I never tire of the coast because it’s never the same twice. The tides and the weather change its physical shape, and they bring different things to look at….

The best american poetics

In his introduction to The Best American Poetry 1991, Mark Strand, my favorite guide in the sphere of aesthetics these days, uses his own personal background (which I guess will be recognizable for many of us) to illuminate the difference between poetry and prose. Here is my attempt to summarize some his arguments: My parents…

Reading Mark Strand

– contemplating the difference between prose & poetry Mark Strand: The Weather of Words  

Ugly???

What is ugly? Who is ugly? Is ugliness at all a word, a description, a kind of characterization one can use? Copyright© Iiu Susiraja I am working on a short text about the Finnish artist Iiu Susiraja. Susiraja is a photographer using her own body as subject and motif. What is most striking about Susiraja’s appearance, is…

Notes on Art and Politics

My review of Ai Weiwei’s exhibition at The Royal Academy of Arts focuses on Ai as a political artist. It is an obvious thing to do – Ai Weiwei is an activist artist. Not an activist or an artist, but both. For me it is important to underline this point because many theorists, and also…

A Common Reader

I am taking Virginia Woolf’s Common Reader as a model for my new writing project. I am studying her way of writing, her method. You all know she is unattainable, belonging to a different sphere, so she will be more like my leading star. Nevertheless,  I will try very hard to make my texts readable for the…

playing with style

Genre is a slippery thing – is there a set borderline between fiction and nonfiction? While nonfiction is often defined by fidelity to fact and logical cohesion, the genre has a companion history of texts that use the fragmentary, suggestive, and inconclusive. There are essays that destabilize unwavering narration, logical progression, and rhetorical coherence. Creative nonfiction is an elastic…

Sliver of Sky

By now, most of my regular readers will know that I’m a great fan of Barry Lopez. His nature-writing is unparalleled. But he is also a master of language in the more personal matters, as when he writes about his own childhood. (The most thin-skinned might choose not to read the following):   Sliver of Sky Confronting…